Call For Relaxing Of Lockdown Restrictions

The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) has requested the further relaxation of the country’s restrictive lockdown laws, as many businesses have to trade in a restricted environment, in addition to limited hours.  

RASA’s CEO Wendy Alberts disclosed to BusinessDay that roughly 1,100 restaurants have had to shut down during the third wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. While RASA once had more than 23,400 restaurants in their database, this number has declined to 9,000 since the pandemic began, leaving many employees jobless. 

South Africa moved to an adjusted level 3 lockdown (again) on 25 July, with various restaurants and similar businesses limitations. 

These include:  

  • A curfew from 22h00 – 04h00.  
  • Non-essential businesses, like restaurants and gyms, can only be open till 21h00. 
  • Alcohol can only be sold from retail outlets for off-site consumption on Monday to Thursday between 10h00-18h00. Alcohol sales for on-site consumption at establishments that have valid liquor licenses and are only allowed till 20h00. 
  • Social gatherings are restricted to only 50 individuals inside and 100 outside. Plus, only 50 people are allowed to be in attendance at funerals. 

Increased Pressure On Businesses

Broll Property Group has reported that this lockdown has put numerous small businesses under severe strain, driving some to shut down. Statistics South Africa said their data showed that almost 1,000 companies had been liquidated in the first six months of 2021. 

The group also recorded 997 liquidations of businesses and close corporations from January to June 2021, increasing by 763 firms over a similar period last year. More than 2,000 liquidations were recorded before 2020 ended.  

Clamping Down On The Rules

While businesses have requested the further relaxation of lockdown rules in South Africa, the authorities have cautioned that they will clamp down on any restaurants that keep on ridiculing Covid-19 guidelines.  

The premier of KwaZulu-Natal, Sihle Zikalala, has said that the recent unrest and looting prompted a spike in Covid-19 cases. Zikalala likewise revealed that some bars and restaurants are still undermining the level 3 guidelines set up, forcing the authorities to take action against them.  

The National Institute for Communicable Diseases revealed more than 10,000 new cases on Sunday evening, with KwaZulu-Natal having the most cases, at only under 3,000. Plus, 272 Covid-19 related deaths were accounted for, taking total fatalities to 77,141 to date. 

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