Stonehaven calls for nonrestrictive opening of restaurants

Vaal Restaurant boss appeals to government to allow sit in

By Mswazie Dube

Vaal’s largest Restaurant operator, Stonehaven has appealed to Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane to allow food outlets to open doors to customers to avert further job losses.

Managing Director of Stonehaven, Rosemary Anderson, told Vaal Observer that they have been waiting for the minister since 1 June to give them a go ahead to go into full operation. The exotic river side restaurant is currently serving take aways only as per the lockdown rules designed to control the spread of Covid 19. 

“We are only serving take aways, which is not even covering our costs. I hope that the government will allow us to fully operate like salons which opened doors to clients on Monday,” said Anderson in an exclusive interview with Vaal’s biggest community newspaper. She said any delay in approving the serving of sit ins will have catastrophic effects to her business.

Stonehaven’s capricious situation is shared by many other restuarants who are at the verge of collapse due the restrictive lockdown conditions they are working on.

Anderson maintained that her business took a huge knock during the three months she has not been trading adding that she could no longer guarantee employment for her 130 employees.

“My employees have been paid by UIF for the past three months and I am not sure if the government will extend the payments further than the promised three months. And I don’t know what will happen to them if the UIF stops paying them,” said Anderson.

Anderson complained about the take away business which she said was not viable for her huge river side operations. She also revealed that Stonehaven never benefited from any of the government business relief packages as her company was not BEE compliant.

“We didn’t benefit because we are not BEE even though the majority of our workforce are black,” said Anderson. She also added that her business faces a bleak future as most of her clients lost jobs whilst others might not come back in fear of contracting Covid 19.

She warned that thousands of restuarants were closing as they could not afford rentals.

“We are lucky to be still in business because we own the property and not paying rent,” she added.

Despite all the financial challenges which her company is going through, Anderson maintained that she will continue to pay school fees for children of poor families. Since 1994 Stonehaven has been paying school for bright children from disadvantaged families.

“We can’t stop that. We will have to make a plan. We have three children at universities and two are still at High School. Many more completed universities. This is a community upliftment project we are proud to continue with even in difficult situations.” said Anderson.

Stonehaven is spectacularly perched by the side of Vaal River in Vanderbijlpark and offers luxurious outdoor meals and boating services.

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