Citizen Reporter
Reporter
2 minute read
27 Nov 2021
11:03 am

Don’t switch our lights off again, restaurant industry pleads with govt

Citizen Reporter

'We cannot afford another lockdown. It will destroy the industry, the country, the moral of society,' the Restaurant Association of South Africa said.

Sakhumzi restaurant along Vilakazi street in Soweto is quiet on 28 June 2021 after adjusted level 4 lockdown was announced as the rising number of Covid-19 infections increased. Photo for illustration: citizen.co.za/Nigel Sibanda

Rumours are swirling that another lockdown could be on the cards, following the World Health Organization’s designation of the Omicron (B.1.1.529) Covid-19 variant as a “variant of concern”. 

A number of countries have closed their borders to South Africa and other African countries after new variant infections were discovered. 

As a result, a National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting, scheduled earlier this week for Sunday, has been brought forward to today.

The NCCC will be assessing Covid-19 developments, including the new variant, to see if further consulting with the President’s Coordinating Council is needed. 

ALSO READ: WHO cautions against travel curbs over new Covid variant

No to ‘blanket ban’

Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) CEO Wendy Alberts on Saturday called on President Cyril Ramaphosa to hold a direct meeting with the restaurant industry. 

Alberts said an escalated lockdown would threaten further unemployment “and a financial bloodbath”, and that the sector cannot afford to close its doors or accept any more restrictions. 

“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 and the recent opening of the economy and the opportunity to financially recover,” Alberts said in a statement. 

ALSO READ: Another hard lockdown incoming? Phaahla says it’s ‘too early’ to say

She also criticised the “unnecessary trauma and fear” incited when economic recovery should be the current priority. 

“We need to show the world that we have control over the virus and that we are all dealing with the same pandemic.

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

She has called for “data and statistics”, and that government address “the uncontrolled spaces and gatherings and mobility” than implement a “blanket shutdown”. 

This includes the possibility of once again stopping the sale of alcohol, she added.

“Make responsible statements and have a proper investigative plan that won’t destroy the country jobs peoples pride and protect our livelihoods.

“Who is going to answer us on the billions that have been wiped off the books of restaurants tourism.”

NOW READ: State of Disaster extended as Covid-19 cases hit 1,000 mark since October

Compiled by Nica Richards