Rogue restaurants risk whole sector being curbed again, minister warns

The sector cannot risk having its hard-earned gains made thus far reversed. (Photo by Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images)
The sector cannot risk having its hard-earned gains made thus far reversed. (Photo by Jens Kalaene/picture alliance via Getty Images)
Jens Kalaene
  • Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has appealed to restaurants to comply with safety regulations for the good of the sector. 
  • This follows numerous complaints, the minister said. 
  • Meanwhile the Restaurant Association of SA has warned it will report non-compliant restaurants.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Tuesday wrote letters to restaurants insisting on their co-operation with Covid-19 safety regulations after noting, with concern, some incidents of non-compliance. 

The minister warned in a statement that non-compliance placed the entire sector’s recovery in jeopardy.

"The sector cannot risk having any of our hard-earned gains made thus far reversed as this will have a devastating impact on the recovery of the sector," she warned in a statement.

Her department has received numerous complaints from consumers, other operators and employees about the situation at certain restaurants, including that they are operating outside of curfew, offering take-away alcohol and not adhering to social distancing or the wearing of masks as required by law.

"This does not only risk these businesses' licences, but also endangers the safety of their customers and dedicated workers," the minister warned.

‘We have worked so hard’

In an address to members, the Restaurant Association of SA also cautioned that it had become apparent that various restaurant owners believe the current regulations do not apply to them.

"We have worked so hard to open our sector and much heartache has been caused due to the restrictions and full closure of our beautiful restaurants...Consideration is being held to impose stricter protocols or even reverting to off-site consumption and even to close the restaurant sector," the association said.

"It is unthinkable that due to a few operators not following the rules the entire industry may suffer again. As unfortunate as it is, we must, therefore, encourage the reporting of non-compliant restaurants so that we can save the industry as a whole."

"As the hospitality industry turns a corner on the road to recovery, technology will be critical to protecting travelers and workers alike," says Alex Alt, senior vice president and general manager of Oracle Hospitality.

"Safety rightly remains consumers' top priority when they consider traveling, and the hospitality industry is doubling down on technology to facilitate social distancing and reduce face to face interaction for guests' protection."

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