A public health campaign, a much faster rate of vaccination and a strengthened healthcare system are the way to deal with Covid-19, says Fedhasa. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU
A public health campaign, a much faster rate of vaccination and a strengthened healthcare system are the way to deal with Covid-19, says Fedhasa. Picture: SANDILE NDLOVU

The hospitality industry is pleading with the government not to impose additional restrictions on the sector during its peak festive season holidays.

While the infection rate has dwindled to less than 200 and five people died of the disease in the past 24 hours, there are fears that a fourth wave is around the corner as infections may rise with people celebrating Christmas.

It is also feared that the vaccination uptake in the country was slowing down, leaving citizens vulnerable. 

The industry call comes as the national state of disaster declared to handle the Covid-19 pandemic was extended to December 15 by co-operative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the weekend.

She cited a “need to augment the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by the organs of state to address the impact of the disaster”.

The Federated Hospitality Association of SA (Fedhasa) — umbrella association for hotels, restaurants, conference centres, caterers, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, guest houses, taverns and shebeens — is asking the government to use all other mechanisms at its disposal to control the spread of coronavirus.

Fedhasa urged the government to make every effort to avoid instituting regulations that hamper the hospitality sector’s operations, particularly over the festive season holiday when many businesses would be trying to recover from the losses over the past 19 months.

“As an industry, we are not insensitive to the fact that balancing lives and livelihoods is an impossible task, and we understand sacrifices have to be made.

“However, hotels and restaurants are not just a nonessential lifestyle activity which can be switched on and off to stem the spread of Covid-19,” said Fedhasa national chair Rosemary Anderson. 

Unlike many other sectors, the hospitality sector had largely borne the brunt of changing lockdown regulations, despite putting in place stringent health and hygiene protocols, she said.

“Thousands of livelihoods have already been lost. Every day the operations of the hospitality sector and its extended supply chain are curtailed through regulations, more livelihoods hang in the balance.”

Anderson said Fedhasa advocated a public health campaign encouraging citizens to comply with nonpharmaceutical protocols. It urged  the government to increase vaccinations  and strengthen the health-care system.

“These really are the only way we can eliminate continuing surges, avoid Covid-19 limiting operations and restore some semblance of normality in our lives.”

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