The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) says it will continue lobbying for government to lift the ban on the sale of alcohol in restaurants. This after Tourism Minister Mamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced a slight ease in COVID-19 lockdown restrictions in the sector.

The evening curfew has been adjusted by an hour, and will now start at 10pm. The ban on intra-provincial leisure travel has also been lifted.

RASA CEO Wendy Alberts says they are waiting for further engagements with government on the liquor sale ban.

“We are grateful that the curfew has happened, it’s not going to make much change. It was a non-negotiable with the liquor and the curfew. So we can only hope that they can take the leadership role like the Minister of Tourism and engage with us and get these other parts open for our sector.”

“We pay liquor licenses and we are entitled to have alcohol in our businesses. We can do it responsibly, limit the intake units. But we have had to come up with a universal solution for the entire country,” adds Alberts.

Rasa lobbies for on-site alcohol consumption:

The association says that almost 400 000 jobs may be lost in the sector in the coming weeks after the government announced a night curfew which has since been adjusted to 10pm and the ban on the sale of alcohol.

She 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.

Alberts says it’s 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 being able to serve alcohol and have a restriction on our dining time.”