The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) fears that stricter lockdown restrictions may mark the end of many establishments.

This comes as the country awaits President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation this evening to outline the way forward, following the discovery of the new Omicron variant of the coronavirus. The variant is believed to be highly transmissible and driving the rise in infection rates.

The association’s CEO Wendy Alberts says a harder lockdown would lead to complete economic sabotage for the industry. She says South Africa needs to do everything possible to keep the economy open.

“We need to take the pressure of small businesses like restaurants, and we need to ensure that we continue not to go into any other restrictions and we do everything we can to use this time to build the economy, to build morale, to keep people employed, and to ensure that as we move through the stage of lockdown we continue to show that we are compliant and that have done everything we can as an industry to follow through with protocols, as well as the regulations. Threats of a further lockdown will be fatal on the industry.”

Liquor industry also against harsher lockdowns

The National Liquor Traders’ Council is also calling on government not to impose another harsh lockdown, saying that it would have a detrimental impact on the industry.

The council’s national convenor Lucky Ntimane says no scientific analysis or common sense that would justify another hard lockdown.

Ntimane elaborates on the industry being against harder lockdowns:

“We have every confidence to believe that we will not be banned and we’re saying this because there’s no scientific basis or even common sense that will justify another lockdown or another ban on alcohol, or even further restrictions. We would like to believe that the president understands fully, what this will do to our economy, to the jobs that are dependent on the alcohol industry. We have about 250 000 jobs for example that are dependant on taverns and about 1 million jobs that are dependent on the alcohol industry and its value chain.”