The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) has called on the government not to extend the alcohol ban and to support and approve the industry’s new road house concept to roll out under level 4 lockdown.

RASA CEO, Wendy Alberts, said in a statement issued on Friday that the association had approached the Department of Tourism, the SAPS, Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel and Alan Winde for support of the roadhouse concept. She said the association had motivated the concept as an innovative new way of keeping safe in accordance with the Covid-19 regulations and protocols.

 “In principle the response was well received and we are awaiting the final approval from high level government in particular, we need resolve and approval on this but there seems to be no sense of urgency,” Alberts said.

She said the association had also approached the government for assistance to reopen the industry as it had traded in April during Easter and played a responsible part in serving food and liquor in a controlled safe environment and supporting government in bringing down new infection numbers.

 “We continue to invite the various ministerial cabinets to constantly engage in communication with us to find ways that will support government and its plan to balance saving lives and protecting livelihoods

and helping our industry save jobs and business. Government simply doesn’t care that our industry that is being destroyed,” she said.

 “The alcohol impact is probably the single biggest issue impacting our restaurants and we cannot tolerate an extension to this restriction. We cannot survive on the small turnover of take-aways on offer while paying full expenses. It’s not financially viable and third-party delivery costs exploit our businesses and taxed licences are sending letters of demand for payments of licences not in use,” she said.

She said landlords and banks had refused to “come to the party and rentals and loans are the biggest contributors to closure”.

“We are constantly requesting the evidence-based data that prejudices our industry The restaurant industry has beautiful outside spaces, display compliance, have the highest number of protocols to follow and yet there is no proof of transmissions in our establishments,” Alberts said.

“Restaurants have been the industry that has been most impacted and remodelled at every turn, at every level, and hardship has been at the forefront of all our businesses and the industry is still in the early stages of recovery. The Restaurant industry cannot tolerate any type of negative impact or face the continued closure, liquor ban or any type of further restrictions,” Albers said.

“We are logging more restaurant closures to the list daily, a list that nearly extends past one thousand restaurants, while we watch the illicit trade destroying jobs and businesses…We are demanding government talks to us. We need to open. Government needs to answer and compensate for the destruction and suffering we are enduring. Government has a responsibility to hear and consult with us. Retail and transport have made no compromises nor have they had any imposed restrictions or remodelled their businesses. Restaurants simply cannot survive without alcohol or sit down patrons or diner time sales,” Alberts said.

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Presh JM Reporter

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