The lockdown has sealed the fate of at least eight restaurants in the city, the Tshwane Tourism Association says.
According to the Restaurant Charter of the association, 59 other eateries cannot afford to reopen despite the government easing some lockdown regulations.
The association’s Christian Maiorana said a survey of 187 restaurants showed that 228 jobs of 5997 had already been lost. And things could get worse, Maiorana added.
Restaurants had in fact found it more expensive to open and conduct business under Covid-19 compliance regulations, he said. “We found that 60 restaurants spent up to R10 000 and 49 about R40 000 to trade. For some, it was between R80 000 and R100 000.
“From those that are open, 26 indicated that they achieved less than 10% of the normal turnover. Others made less than 40% of normal turnover and some 60%. Only four restaurants said they were achieving up to 80% of normal turnover.”
He said the reasons given by the restaurants that had not opened range from the situation not being financially feasible without liquor sales to not qualifying for the relief fund. Physical distancing was also proving to be a challenge, resulting in a low number of patrons.
“Some restaurants cannot open because they found demand too low and the risk too high. Some mentioned uncertainty regarding government regulations and takeaways not working out because people go to restaurants for the social experience – to sit down for hearty meals and a beer or glass of wine.”
On Thursday, Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that after engaging the industry, the National Coronavirus Command Council decided to move the 9pm curfew to 10pm with the intention to aid the industry to generate some of the revenue lost.
However, Maiorana said this was just a short period of time and would make no significant difference to the industry that had been on a downwards spiral since the lockdown was implemented.
He said the sale of alcohol at restaurants would increase revenue collection, but he could not see how the government could permit restaurants to sell a few glasses of wine and beer for dinner without necessarily lifting the ban in general.