The ban on the sale of alcohol, put in place to help curb the spread of Covid-19 and lessen the pressure on the country’s healthcare system, has adversely impacted restaurants and pubs who have seen a decline in the number of patrons and have bulk stock of liquor sitting idly.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that the ban on the sale of alcohol would be extended until 15 February, meaning restaurants, pubs and other liquor retail outlets are not permitted to sell alcohol.
The alcohol industry says the ban will have a devastating effect, which could result in some businesses shutting down or staff reductions.
Owner of Disoufeng Pub & Restaurant in Meadowlands, Soweto, Tebogo Phiri said the ban had brought on unforeseen challenges, especially because he had stocked up liquor in bulk to avoid the New Year’s Eve rush, an investment he said now “sits idle”.
Phiri said it was not an option to try and milking that investment by selling alcohol through the backdoor because the risks were too high and one could lose their liquor license.
“So, it’s not easy at all,” Phiri said.
Phiri’s establishment employs 55 people but due to the slow pace of business, 46 of them have had to stay at home, while nine continue to work, he said.
Moja Cafe marketing and PR manager, Motsepe Motsegoa, said the ban had placed a huge dent on the business, in particula its entertainment wing, which he said remained empty.
“One thing we have not done is to retrench people. So no one has lost their work,” Motsegoa said.
Moja Cafe has initiated a shift roster for bar and kitchen area staff, to ensure that social distancing is maintained as per Covid-19 regulations, Motsegoa said.
The sale of food “on its own is not enough”, Motsegoa said, however, there were patrons that still visited the establishment, though the numbers have waned.
“But we’ve been blessed to still have a nice number of people coming through to eat,” Motsegoa said.
Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu