The hospitality industry is calling on the government to reconsider closing down seated restaurants

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Fedhasa says it is financially not feasible for some of their companies to operate within the current restrictions

THE Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) is calling on the government to ease restrictions, particularly on seating restaurants at the height of the third wave.

Fedhasa is demanding that seat restaurants be allowed to operate as they will not survive the effects of another lockdown extension.

Fedhasa chairwoman Rosemary Anderson said it was financially unsustainable for restaurants and pubs to operate within the current restrictions.

“Takeaways and deliveries are not the business model restaurants operate in,” she said.

She added, “If the government cannot provide financial assistance, it must enable restaurants to do financially viable business by lifting current restrictions.”

The hospitality industry supports the livelihood of many employees and speculation that the Covid-19 restrictions will keep restaurants closed in July.

Anderson said the loss they suffer only spreads through restaurants and in-house employees.

“Behind the locked restaurant doors and ‘for sale’ signs lie thousands of lost livelihoods that are weighed on every day.”

She added, “In addition, the hospitality industry supports a deep supply chain that is similarly affected.”

Despite adhering to health and hygiene protocols, the hospitality industry did not function fully even under the restrictions of lockdown level 1.

Anderson said, “Balancing life and livelihood is an impossible task and we understand that sacrifices must be made.”

“However, hotels and restaurants are not just a non-essential lifestyle activity that can be turned on and off to contain the spread of Covid-19.”

She added that companies cannot make a living or pay bills if they have not worked normally for more than a year through no fault of their own.

“We have made every effort to ensure the safety of employees and guests. We had very little relief and were ignored, ”she said.

Anderson said the industry is not insensitive to the third wave and what South Africa is experiencing.

“Too many have lost their lives, lost loved ones, or anxiously wait while family and friends suffer serious illness,” she said.

Fedhasa has since partnered with the Sukuma Fund to provide R100 million to qualified Fedhasa registered restaurateurs. This money is used for rent and cash flow relief.

Anderson said they realize help is a drop in the ocean.

“Landlords and banks need to do the right thing, come to the party and show some flexibility for those involved in the hospitality industry who are experiencing a cash flow crisis.”

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