This week, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced in a national address that South Africa would remain under level 3 lockdown “until we have passed the peak of new infections”. While necessary to curb the second wave of COVID-19 infections, this latest lockdown extension has come as bad news for the local hospitality industry, which has been one of the hardest hit by the pandemic.
This is according to Arnold February, Regional Investment Manager at Business Partners Limited (BUSINESS/PARTNERS) – one of Africa’s leading risk finance companies for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) – who says that increasingly more restaurants are opting to close their doors temporarily, until lockdown regulations ease.
“With the curfew still in place and increasing fear around the new strain and second wave, many of these restaurants are struggling to operate at a profit. Furthermore, in South Africa, pairing meals with alcohol is a major part of restaurant culture – so much so that liquor can account for as much as 70% of a restaurant’s profit (according to Lobby group, the Restaurant Collective (R|C) ). With no end to the liquor ban in sight – and with the current curfew of 9pm crippling dinner trade – many of these eateries are operating at a loss, and closing temporarily may prove more economical for some,” says February.