HomeNewsHard LOCKDOWN: SA restaurants plead for meeting with Ramaphosa

Hard LOCKDOWN: SA restaurants plead for meeting with Ramaphosa

The South African Restaurant industry cannot afford a further hard lockdown that will lead to job losses and the closure of more businesses, the SA Restaurant Association said in its appeal for a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa on Saturday.

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SA Restaurant Association CEO Wendy Alberts said in a statement that the industry wanted to meet urgently with Ramaphosa on Saturday.

“We need to engage with government immediately and present the facts of the position of the industry and revisit the status and data that proves our risk,” Alberts said.

“Rumours and announcements of a further lockdown impacting yet another economical disaster and threats to unemployment and a financial blood bath are making their way to the doors of our restaurants and we cannot afford to close our doors or accept any restrictions,” Alberts said.

She said there were alternative solutions to a lockdown to curb the spread of the pandemic.

“We cannot allow our industry’s lights to be switched off again. It is irresponsible not to engage with us to remedy a solution that will not impact employment job security, industry moral pride, the recent opening of the economy and the opportunity to financially recover. It is unacceptable that we are facing another threat of lockdown,” Alberts said.

She said the poorly handled announcement regarding the new variant of Covid-19 had caused “unnecessary trauma and fear in a time we should be embracing that the country is being responsible and doing what we can to begin mobilising business and forging economical recovery.”

“Internationally we are closing ourselves out before we have even had enough information and (know) what the challenges may be. We need to show the world that we have control over the virus and that we are all dealing with the same pandemic,” Alberts said.

SA economy can’t take anther hard lockdown

She said the industry and the country could not afford another destructive lockdown.

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“We cannot afford another lockdown. It will destroy the industry, the country, the morale of society,”she said.

She said number of new infections did justify another hard lockdown.

“The international market is destroyed for the season, everyone is cancelling trips. The country is now reliant on the local economy, largely tourism hospitality and restaurants, to support the economy,” she said.

Alberts said that restaurants were adhering to the highest degree of Covid-19 health and safety precautions. 

“We have called for data and statistics. We operate our restaurants in a controlled safe spaces. The government needs to address the uncontrolled spaces, gatherings and mobility,” Alberts said.

She said a hard lockdown with a blanket shut down of the sector would lead to illicit trade, unemployment and a potential “bloodbath of homeless and starving communities.”

We need to be acknowledged for our responsible contributions to execution of protocols and directives, our role in promoting vaccinations and keeping our patrons and staff safe. We need to recover the economy and allow confidence in employment and job retention,” Alberts said.

“By shutting down liquor we destroy the country as this is the backbone to cross industry spending and the entire value chain. We have learnt many things in the last two years and we need to tap into the trends and expertise of the past and not make the same mistakes moving forward,” she said.

She said the government needed to make responsible statements and have a proper investigative plan that won’t destroy jobs and people’s pride.

“Who is going to answer us on the billions that have been wiped off the books of restaurants tourism? Government must start to compensate these industries who have continue to be ban and restricted from trading at the drop of a hat . Any further restrictions will kill the rest of the SMMMEs currently struggling to survive,” Alberts said.

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