The Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) says almost 400 000 jobs may be lost in the sector in the coming weeks.
This comes as the government announced a night curfew and another ban on the sale of alcohol.
Rasa CEO Wendy Alberts says 69 restaurants have permanently closed their doors, while hundreds more say it is not financially viable for them to remain open with the curfew and alcohol ban in place.
“The news on Sunday night came to us as a complete surprise, a complete blow from the dark. It was a final nail in the coffin for many restaurants. They simply cannot keep their businesses open and it makes no financial sense to one, not be able to serve alcohol and have a restriction on our dining time.”
“I mean dinner time does not end at 8pm for us to be able to get staff home and get staff home. So, there is no sustainability for restaurants to keep their doors open,” says Alberts.
RASA says it is considering taking the legal route over the matter.
Alberts says they are putting together a lawsuit, to claim compensation because they cannot make use of their liquor licences.
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday said the latest suspension of the sale and distribution of alcohol seeks to reduce the flow of trauma patients to hospitals during the COVID-19 peak.
In the video below, lobbying for on-site alcohol consumption in restaurants continues: