A ray of hope for the hospitality sector

The ban on the sale of alcohol has been lifted and the curfew extended.

More than 750 direct jobs have been saved by the Restaurant Rescue Project.

The industry-driven initiative is aimed at preserving the gastronomic culture of Cape Town by saving the restaurant sector, and was born out of a collaboration between Radford Dale, a Stellenbosch-based winery, and Grub & Vine, a small, family-owned bistro in Bree Street.

A participating restaurant would curate an experience which guests can purchase as a voucher.

In a statement, the City’s Mayoral committee member for economic opportunities and asset management, James Vos, applauded the project.

He said to date, Capetonians’ dedication to supporting their local eatery has amounted to a total of R5 031 800, and counting, generated by those who bought restaurant vouchers through the project.

During his address to the nation on Monday, February 1, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that establishments must now close at 10pm so staff can be home by the extended curfew of 11pm.

Restrictions on the sale of alcohol have also been eased.

The sale of alcohol by licensed premises for on-site consumption – such as restaurants and taverns – will be permitted throughout the week from 10am to 10pm.

The president thanked the citizens who had to endure restrictions on their movement and activities so that infections could be contained, and lives could be saved.

“You have understood that no walk on the beach, no picnic in the park, and no late-night party is worth the loss of life that has been prevented by these restrictions. While these restrictions are temporary, the loss of life is permanent,” he said.

Marketing manager for Kloof Street House restaurant, Emma Elkonin, said the 9pm curfew had negatively affected the restaurants.

She said they have had to let go of some of their permanent staff members and took salary cuts to avoid more retrenchments.

“The idea of the extension of curfew would make a huge difference in our daily turnover and we would be able to keep our staff and customers happy,” she said.

Chris Papaynnes of Tindlovu Restaurant in Camps Bay said they were happy with the extension of the curfew. He said they have had to close their kitchen around 7pm to make sure that their staff had time to clean up and get home on time and they lost business from that.

“It certainly wasn’t an ideal situation and it happened in summer where most patrons always enjoy their meals after 7pm and we lost business because of that,” he said,

He added that with the sale of alcohol, they are expecting to see a slight increase as more customers will be spending on their drinks which match their meals.

“We felt like the initial curfew didn’t consider the restaurant sector in all levels because unlike other establishments, restaurants are more of controlled environments and we could have managed our patrons. We’re happy with the latest developments on this,” he said.

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said he was pleased that both the health and livelihoods of residents are being prioritised with the reopening of beaches and the resumption of alcohol sales, both of which will benefit the local tourism and hospitality industry. He said the sector has been under great strain due to the bans.

“Thousands who rely on the tourism and hospitality sector, including those working in restaurants, at wine farms and other spaces, can now resume work. The easing of these regulations and the jobs that can now be resumed will help struggling families to put food on the table.”