Owners of restuarants in Vaal are disappointed by the Minister of Tourism’s threats to bar the consumption of liquor in their premises.
The Minister, Mmamoloko Kibayi-Ngubane who is scheduled to make a comprehensive outline on how the restuarants would operate at 1700 hours today has already ruled out the possibility of allowing liquor to be consumed in restuarants.
Owner of Stonehaven, Vaal’s largest restaurant, Rosemary Anderson said the exclusion of beer on the list of drinks that could be consumed at restuarants was a blow to her business.
Anderson said beer sales contribute 40 to 70% of her turnover adding that such a stringent condition was a final nail in the coffin of a dying restaurant industry.
“Restuarants are already closing anywhere because of the three months of not trading, so if we are to be denied the right to allow customers to consume liquor in our premises, then we might not recover at all. Remember this is winter already, the environment is already bad because people are scared to go out due to Covid 19, so the withdrawal of beer sales would make an already bad situation worse,” said Anderson who employs 130 employees.
Anderson added that the government’s effort to reduce crime and accidents was misdirected as restaurant patrons rarely engage in crime.
“People don’t get drunk in restuarants. I understand that the government is trying to contain crime and accidents in an effort to reduce people who get hospitalized, but restaurant patrons don’t get drunk to the extent of committing crime. Such cases are prevalent in Bars and taverns and not restuarants. We have been serving beer in this restaurant for years and we never had this kind of situation,” she added.
She also said the government should have fixed such a challenge long back instead of trying to solve everything during the Covid 19 pandemic.
Another Vaal restaurant operator who preferred to remain anonymous accused the government of grandstanding and paying lip service to their plight.
“The government is going beyond the efforts of controlling Covid 19 by refusing to allow us to sell liquor and serve sit ins even after meeting the health requirements. People’s livelihoods are now in danger, she said in an exclusive interview with Vaal Observer today.
Anderson ’sentiments were echoed by Restaurant Association leader Wendy Albert who told eNCA that the minister was apportioning unnecessary restrictions to the Restaurant industry.