Restaurants want an hour extra before curfew, two drinks per meal – and to pay 5% less VAT
- Two different restaurant groups wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa this week, begging for his intervention in lockdown rules they say will kill their industry.
- Both groups say being allowed to sell alcohol is key. One wants a limit of two drinks per customer, as long as they buy a meal, in non-hotspot areas.
- The other group is begging for an extra hour before curfew, until 22:00.
- Restaurant workers plan to protest on Wednesday, but police warned them to not go ahead.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Two separate groups of restauranteurs have begged President Cyril Ramaphosa to allow them to sell alcohol – in restricted fashion – to save their businesses.
One is also asking for a tax break, and for a slight adjustment to the national curfew.
Restaurant workers plan a national protest on Tuesday, but police have warned them to not go ahead.
Restaurants are being hit by a number of factors, including people's discomfort about eating out, the Restaurant Collective (RC) told Ramaphosa in an open letter on Tuesday. But the government can help by measures such as extending the curfew from 21:00 to 22:00 every night.
The RC also wants restaurants to pay 5% less VAT until mid-2021, giving them an effective rate of 14.25%, compared to the 15% VAT everyone else pays.
It is also important to allow "restricted alcohol sales for licensed sit-down restaurants", the RC told the President – and soon.
"Since opening on June 29th, most [restaurants] are trading below 50% of usual turnover. This loss of cash-flow has depleted businesses and individuals of any reserves and timing is now critical. Without immediate action, these losses are likely to be permanent."
On Monday lawyers for the Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa) also wrote to Ramaphosa. The association had not received so much as an acknowledgement on a proposal sent to the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs, its lawyers said, and they hoped putting it to the President may see it “receive more consideration”.
Rasa wants customers in sit down restaurants to be allowed to order two drinks with every main meal.
"This would effectively prevent the restaurant from turning into a bar,” it said.
Under the Rasa proposal, such sales could be banned again in coronavirus hotspots.
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