Independent business group Sakeliga encourages its members to support restaurants and coffee shops on Wednesday, 22 July, as part of the Restaurant Association’s (RASA’s) Million Seats on the Streets Campaign. Lockdown has so far cost the industry almost all of its R7 billion per month in turnover.
After months of needlessly harmful, excessive, and impulsive regulations, several industries are on its knees. Prominent among these is the retail trade, food and beverage industry, which has seen a total collapse of revenue from about R7 billion per month to less than R1 billion. Restaurants and coffee shops, a significant subset of the industry, has dropped from around R4 billion turnover to effectively zero, according to preliminary Stats SA data released on Monday.
“We encourage all businesspersons to buy and consume a drink or a meal at restaurants and coffee shops on Wednesday, 22 July. We encourage them to take a photo and post it to social media, with a comment on the lockdown regulations and its impact, or tips on how to get around harmful regulations,” says Piet le Roux, CEO of Sakeliga.
RASA’s Million Seats on the Streets campaign entails that restaurants and coffee shops across the country will place their tables outside and even in streets, or demonstrate otherwise, to protest the unacceptable damage wrought in the industry by government’s Covid19 regulations.
“What makes the regulations particularly objectionable is its unnecessary damage to lives and livelihoods. The same health benefits could have been achieved through more sensible policies, but with at least an order of magnitude less economic damage,” says Le Roux.
Le Roux emphasizes the importance of demonstrating in a way that does not harm other businesses or people: “We take this opportunity to request restaurateurs, coffee shops and all supporters of Wednesday’s demonstrations to ensure that no roads are completely blocked off and that no persons or private businesses are obstructed or harmed. Law and order, personal health and safety, and the viability of other businesses also under immense pressure to remain in business should remain cherished and protected.”