Relief as South Africa relaxes Covid-19 restrictions and lifts booze ban

The South African hospitality sector has welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision to ease COVID-19 restrictions and subsequently lift the ban on alcohol sales, which will help get the beleaguered sector back on its feet, and equally so allay fears of further job cuts. 

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  • President Cyril Ramaphosa said restrictions on the sale of alcohol will be eased. The sale of alcohol by licensed premises for off-site consumption will be permitted from Mondays to Thursdays, from 10am to 6pm.
  • Faith-based gatherings will be permitted, with no more 50 people allowed for indoor venues and 100 persons for outdoor venues.
  • Hours of the curfew will now be from 11pm to 4am. Establishments will need to close by 10pm to allow their customers and staff to return home by curfew.
  • The Presidential address came just hours after South Africa received the first consignment of 1 million doses of the AstraZeneca vaccines from India, which will be first administered to healthcare workers.

FEDHASA has welcomed Monday’s Presidential address that confirmed shorter curfew hours and the lifting of the outright ban on alcohol sales, bringing great relief to a hospitality sector which has borne the brunt of heightened restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of COVID. 

“We are thrilled with tonight’s announcement that the restrictions are being eased, which paves the way for hospitality businesses to be able to operate in a financially viable environment.

Off-site sales of alcohol is allowed between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday 

“The lengthy curfew hours and ban on alcohol, restriction on numbers and closing of major tourist attractions, including beaches, meant it was simply no longer feasible for many businesses to continue to trade and this has led to so many businesses in the hospitality industry closing during these additional restrictions,” said Rosemary Anderson, FEDHASA national chairperson. 

Similarly, the further announcement of the reopening of beaches bodes well for the accommodation and restaurant sectors in coastal areas.

“Sadly, the peak festive season trading was lost for many, however we remain hopeful that South Africans will support their hospitality sector, knowing how many people depend on it for their livelihoods. We trust that they will do so responsibly so that their patronage is the lifeline many hospitality companies have been holding desperately on for,” said Anderson. 

While the restrictions have been eased, the hospitality sector continues to operate with robust health and hygiene protocols to safeguard staff and guests. “We have worked incredibly hard to devise and institute these protocols. Our industry is committed to complying fully and properly with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s Travel Safe Eat Safe protocols,” explained Anderson.

Rosemary Anderson, FEDHASA national chairperson. 

“We urge our patrons and guests to help us remain open by adhering strictly to the protocols so that our businesses can continue operating and we can secure the jobs that the industry supports as well as hopefully regain jobs that have been lost.   

The news comes as South Africa received its first consignment of the COVID-19 vaccine earlier on the day (Monday), amid further announcement that additional vaccines have been secured.

“Our hospitality industry will not survive another lockdown. We need the vaccine programme to be rolled out throughout the country urgently,” added Anderson.

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