Tag: Restuarants

COVID-19: Restaurants, cinemas and casinos are now unbanned, but must wait for more rules.

According to Business Insider, a number of leisure activities were technically unbanned under Alert Level 3 of SA’s lockdown late on Thursday night, but in a way that still makes it illegal for establishments to actually open their doors.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma gazetted a set of amendments to the primary rules that govern lockdown which came into immediate effect as of Thursday, even though they were published after 23:00.

Those amendments create new exceptions to the otherwise blanket ban on gatherings for conferences, casinos, cinemas, restaurants, and museums and libraries.

But in each case gatherings are allowed only under adherence to sector-specific safety protocols, which have not yet been published for any of those sectors, making it impossible to comply.

Only salons and tattoo parlours have had such rules released since President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the plan to further relax lockdown restrictions.

Cinemas and Theatres

According to Business Insider, the late-night amendments say that conferences “restricted to business purposes” may take place, and cinemas and theatres may open, as long as all host no more than 50 people at a time.

Casinos

Casinos do not have such an absolute limit on visitors.

Instead their patrons must stay 1.5 metres away from one another, while the regulations also impose “a restriction on the number of persons allowed in the casino to not more than 50 percent of the available floor space”.

Just why casinos must close off half their floor space to customers, rather than spreading them across the entire available area, is not explained.

That percentage limit, the new regulations say, may be increased.

Restaurants, museums, galleries, libraries, and archives

Restaurants – and museums, galleries, libraries, and archives – get neither a hard limit not any mention of floorspace percentages; gatherings there are to be controlled entirely by another set of regulations that must be issued for that purpose.

All the sectors are enjoined to “strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures as provided for in directions that must be issued” by their respective cabinet ministers, after consultation with health minister Zwelini Mkhize.

The Cogta regulations do contain a handful of specific rules, including:

  • Cinemas must sell all tickets “through a booking system”. (It is not specified that this must be an online system.)
  • Theatres must operate with a maximum crew of 15 people, and that includes extra staff dealing with live streaming or recording.

Shortly after publication of the amendments, the Restaurant Association of SA told members it considered the new rules “vague” and as passing the buck. It promised that its attorneys would be “requesting the immediate release of these directions” that would allow sit-down restaurants to open their doors.

Link to the amendments

http://www.gpwonline.co.za/Gazettes/Gazettes/43476_25-6_Cogta.pdf

Source: Business Insider

Restaurants can open, but what are the rules?

Restaurant owners and industry bodies have to wait on government to publish the physical distancing guidelines.

Liam Tomlin, proprietor of the Chefs Warehouse chain of restaurants said, the president’s announcement did little in the way of providing clarity on a path to reopening.

“The announcement was very vague and really doesn’t make it any easier for us in planning or making any decisions on the reopening of our businesses or if it will make financial sense to reopen them until we have solid guidelines as to how we can operate,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin asked some important questions,

  • Can we serve alcohol as normal without restrictions on the hours of consumption as we experienced pre-lockdown?
  • How many guests can we have in our space?
  • How many staff can be on site?

Founder of the Beerhouse group and the Hospitality Alliance, Randolph Jorberg, said that with the reopening of food outlets, the sale of alcohol specifically was a make-or-break factor for many.

Comments on social media indicated there are a huge number of customers confirming that they will rather eat at home, with a bottle of liquor bought from a bottle store, if they are not allowed to consume liquor in restaurants.

They now have to wait for the regulations to be published by the government.

Meanwhile, major leisure companies are already implementing their own measures.

The Sun International Group, which operates GrandWest Casino and Entertainment World and Table Bay Hotel in Cape Town, published measures that both its restaurant tenants and patrons must adhere to.

“Our new health and safety protocols adhere to travel and tourism industry standard protocols for Covid-19 that were issued by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa, and approved by governments health experts as well as an independent epidemiologist,” said Graham Woods, the group’s chief operating officer for hospitality.

These measures include,

  • People maintaining 1.5m distance from each other
  • Menus to be sanitised or disposed upon single use
  • Condiments to be served with meals in a single use package
  • Cutlery and napkins to be provided in a paper sleeve

Tomlin said, any guidelines for restaurants would have to be applied on a case-by-case basis with the responsibilty of social distancing also laying with patrons.

Source: IOL

Photo Credit: Unsplash

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