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Alcohol ban: Govt using restaurant industry as scapegoat, says BLSA CEO

22 July 2020 7:17 PM
Tags:
Alcohol ban
Tourism industry
Business Leadership South Africa
BLSA
hospitality industry
Gillian Saunders
Busisiwe Mavuso
Coronavirus
COVID-19
level 3 lockdown
#JobsSaveLives
Million Seats on the Streets

Bruce Whitfield interviews Busisiwe Mavuso and tourism consultant Gillian Saunders about the regulations throttling the industry.

Thousands of jobs are being lost in the tourism and hospitality sectors as Level 3 lockdown regulations continue to hobble the industry.

On Wednesday, restaurant owners and staff across South Africa took part in the "Million Seats on the Streets" protest, which police had declared illegal.

RELATED: [WATCH] #JobsSaveLives: Desperate waiters, chefs and owners take to the streets

FILE: Many cafes, eateries, and restaurants have carted their tables and chairs outside their establishments to show the hardships the industry is facing. Picture: Supplied

While eateries are now allowed to serve sit-down diners, the ban on onsite alcohol consumption and the 9 pm curfew are proving disastrous for businesses already struggling to survive.

Government has now clarified an earlier tweet which "incorrectly" said the ban on alcohol and cigarette sales would remain in place until the lockdown ends.

Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has been accused of not understanding the industry and caring little about all those losing their livelihoods.

The Money Show interviews Busisiwe Mavuso, chief executive officer of Business Leadership SA (BLSA), who says she would have thought that government would take decisions that _don't _exacerbate the situaton.

If you're going to put a million people's jobs at risk when you are failing to pay the UIF and the TERS, it doesn't make sense.... I would have thought that the decisions would be around job preservation, not even about job creation which we are trying to drive.

Busisiwe Mavuso, CEO - Business Leadership South Africa

If people are even failing to protect these jobs you can see we are going to reach the sovereign debt crisis that Fita was talking about not in three years, but in one year.

Busisiwe Mavuso, CEO - Business Leadership South Africa

In this case, we're seeing the industry being used as a scapegoat. The alcohol ban is really being used to compensate for poor governance and lack of government ability to enforce more sustainable lockdown restrictions.

Busisiwe Mavuso, CEO - Business Leadership South Africa

Mavuso decries the lack of meaningful consultation she says government is guilty of.

The point is echoed by Gillian Saunders, independent tourism consultant and one-time adviser to former tourism minister Derek Hanekom.

On the 17th of June the president said he had had discussions with various industry sectors; he understood that people hadn't had income for more than three months so he decided to ease restrictions on economic activities... Restaurants were allowed to open, but without alcohol.

Gillian Saunders, Independent tourism and hospitality consultant

It shows the lack of understanding of the restaurant business, because a huge number rely on their alcohol income... It actually destroys their trade and it's been further exacerbated by a curfew at nine o' clock.

Gillian Saunders, Independent tourism and hospitality consultant

As the tourism and hospitality industry we've developed fantastic protocols to save operations during Covid times... Our suggestions seemingly fell on deaf ears.

Gillian Saunders, Independent tourism and hospitality consultant

Listen to the compelling arguments in the audio below:


22 July 2020 7:17 PM
Tags:
Alcohol ban
Tourism industry
Business Leadership South Africa
BLSA
hospitality industry
Gillian Saunders
Busisiwe Mavuso
Coronavirus
COVID-19
level 3 lockdown
#JobsSaveLives
Million Seats on the Streets

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