Stoves, microwaves to work overtime during coronavirus lockdown as restaurants close shop

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If you don't have access to a private chef or can't cook, microwave dinners, cooked food at supermarket delis and two-minute noodles are some of the limited choices available during the 21-day lockdown.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday that the lockdown, aimed at curbing the spread of the novel coronavirus, would start at midnight on Thursday.

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As a result, the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) informed its members that the tourism minister ordered all restaurants to close, with no exemptions for take-away food outlets and delivery services.

"There will be no exceptions made for any type of food service to continue to trade," RASA told its members in a circular.

While closing down for three weeks could have severe implications for establishments, RASA said a "muted Covid-19 threat" after the shutdown could ensure that the restaurant business, which has been slow since the outbreak in South Africa earlier in March, goes back to normal.

"Let's trust that this process will allow us to get back to trading as normal as soon as possible and we can look forward to a positive reopening of the restaurant industry in the near future."

The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) said its members would also shut its doors, adding that it fully supported the government's measures.

It has called for a comprehensive recovery plan to be put in place and encouraged member establishments to look out for staff who are also expected to be affected over the next three weeks.

"We have encouraged members to consider leave due to staff over this period and have also lobbied for UIF relief assistance."

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