SEE | Restaurant workers across SA take to the streets to protest lockdown stranglehold
- Restaurants, take-aways and coffee shops have taken to the streets to protest against lockdown rules.
- Empty chairs and tables were stacked outside premises on the street.
- The protest follows massive job losses suffered by the industry due to the impact of lockdown rules and the alcohol ban.
- For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
Restaurants, take-aways and coffee shops across the country took to the streets on Wednesday to protest the devastating cost that lockdown regulations are having on their industry.
Organised by the Restaurant Association of South Africa (Rasa), eating establishments dragged tables and chairs into the streets in order to disrupt traffic.
Rasa is calling it the “1 Million Seats on the Streets” protest and is also planning to form a human chain from parliament in Cape Town on 24 July.
Twitter was alight with images and video of the protest.
Countless chefs, waiters, winery workers, hoteliers & tourism operators line the #Stellenbosch streets supporting #JobsSaveLives protesting irrational government laws banning the tourism and wine industry.Are you listening @CyrilRamaphosa ?? pic.twitter.com/OMiI2j3Yyv— FarmerMike™ ???? (@mikeratcliffe) July 22, 2020
In a letter to RASA, the police had earlier warned that all public gatherings are currently banned under disaster management legislation – unless it is to conduct “normal business”.
Police deputy commissioner, lieutenant general Nhlanhla Mkhwanazi warned RASA that from the police’s viewpoint “your intended peaceful demonstration is not protected” and will be regarded as prohibited.
Sure enough, police in Cape Town arrived during the protest to clear the streets. There were no reports of any arrests.
South Africa’s restaurant sector is on its knees as the coronavirus crisis and stringent lockdown measures threaten the livelihoods of the 800,000 people employed in the industry.
Restaurants are desperate to focus attention on their plight. Rasa says it may sue government on behalf of its members for damages suffered by lockdown regulations, including a rebate on liquor licences.
Despite sit-down meals being allowed in restaurants after a months-long ban, alcohol sales with meals are still out of bounds, starving many restaurants of much-needed income.
The reintroduction of the curfew from 21:00 to 04:00 will also knock income. According to industry representatives, restaurants do the majority of their business after 17:00. If restaurant staff need to be in their homes by 21:00, that means they need time to travel, and to clean and close the restaurant. This effectively cuts trading to only two hours, between 17:00 and 19:00.
(Compiled by Edward-John Bottomley)
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