Picture: 123RF/ELVETICA
Picture: 123RF/ELVETICA

In this edition of Business Day Spotlight, we discuss how the restaurant industry has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, restrictions on trading hours and liquor sales.

Host Mudiwa Gavaza is joined by Wendy Alberts, CEO of the Restaurants Association of SA (Rasa), an industry body, to discuss the issues.

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This week, President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation in the latest “family meeting”, easing ongoing lockdowns restrictions by moving the daily national curfew to from 9pm to 11pm, while also lifting the ban on alcohol sales.

As an industry negatively affected by both these measures, Alberts begins by saying the President’s pronouncements this week were good news for the restaurants industry. She explains that the 9pm curfew, imposed on December 28, meant restaurants could not effectively serve patrons during dinner — the most profitable time of day for such businesses. At the same time, an inability to serve alcohol further reduced the attractiveness of the dining experience.

Business Day Spotlight host Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI.
Business Day Spotlight host Mudiwa Gavaza. Picture: DOROTHY KGOSI.

Alberts says there’s been little support for their industry when it comes to shutdowns and restrictions. That has resulted in a number of businesses being hurt financially by the crisis. Revenues dry up while expenses such as rent, stock and wages remain the same.

The discussion focuses on the plight of restaurant owners during this time, the hardship faced by employees and suppliers, the alleged abuse of liquor licences by different businesses, the burden of negotiating with landlords and lenders, the need for greater support of the industry and ways in which operators can ensure compliance, thereby reducing the risk of future restrictions on the industry.

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 Business Day Spotlight is a MultimediaLIVE production.

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