On Wednesday afternoon, restaurateurs around the country took part in a peaceful protest against the ‘bloodbath’ taking place in the restaurant industry…

Due to government’s restrictions around the coronavirus pandemic, and the ban on alcohol, thousands of eateries around the country have been forced to shut their doors, leading to mass retrenchments in the industry.

Those in the industry called on government to heed their calls for help, and to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol from their premises.

According to a report by eNCA on Tuesday, The Restaurants Association of South Africa (RASA) sent a proposal to President Cyril Ramaphosa which outlined how alcohol could be served safely within a restricted environment. This would help save thousands of jobs in the industry.

The association proposed that:

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  • Government should allow the sale and distribution of alcohol for restaurants with valid liquor licences.
  • Alcohol would only be served if the customer orders a mail meal
  • Drinks would be limited to 2 drinks per meal
  • In areas with high numbers of alcohol-related trauma, tougher restrictions or bans could be imposed.

According to RASA, almost 400 000 jobs may be lost in the sector if the prohibition isn’t lifted soon. The 9PM curfew also placed a huge burden on restaurants and limited their opportunity for revenue.

Manager fined R1,500 for being out 7 minutes past curfew

On Friday, The Michael Collins Irish Pub & Restaurant in Struisbaai in the Western Cape posted a comment on its Facebook page saying that their manager had been fined R1,500 for being out seven minutes past curfew. She had been dropping staff at home.

“With all the government regulations all our restaurant are struggling to keep the doors open. NOW WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THIS!”

#JobsSaveLives campaign

Multiple award-winning chef Matthew Gordon, and owner of the popular French Connection Bistro in Franschhoek posted a call to South Africans and restaurant owners on Tuesday to participate in the #jobssavelives campaign.

“Yesterday was my 4 month anniversary of closing my restaurant doors. My business along with literally thousands of others have been unable to trade. My 30 staff (most have been with me for more than 10 years) have had to live with erratic TERS payments and survive on half salaries from me. My overdraft is maxed out.”

“We need to be able to trade and serve liquor. The #jobssavelives campaign has gone viral highlighting how desperate the situation is. Many have called, shared and supported, thank you. Tomorrow (Wednesday) we take to the streets between 12:00 and 14:00 and put our tables and chairs on the street, nationally. Please support your local restaurant, make an appearance with a banner if you can or just hoot in support if you get close enough.”

Take a look at some of the images of the peaceful protest taking place around the country: