South Africa: Restaurants stage nationwide protest against lockdown restrictions

Restaurant staff across South Africa staged a nationwide protest on Wednesday against restrictions imposed amid the coronavirus pandemic, which include an alcohol ban and a curfew. Restaurant employees in the densely populated Johannesburg suburb of Parkhurst joined the nationwide movement to protect the hospitality industry which was hit hard by the pandemic. They were seen holding signs reading “jobs save lives” and “curfews are for war time, not restaurants.” Despite the authorities' concession to reopen the sit-down services at the end of June, some restrictions remain in force, such as an alcohol ban and a curfew, forcing the businesses to close early to ensure both clients and workers return home in time. A restaurant owner, Sean Barber, said that the restrictions were “for nothing” in “responsible establishments.” “The government's ban on alcohol and the 9 p.m. curfew has literally made it impossible and not feasible for us to operate. It has cut us at the knees, there is no form of income for us that will allow us to sustain our establishments,” he said. The CEO of Restaurant Association of South Africa, Wendy Alberts, called on authorities to «show us your trust, stand up today and meet with the industry, and let us engage and discuss and have discussions on how we can rebuild this industry and save all these beautiful people from losing their jobs.»

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