Eased lockdown restrictions came a bit too late for some business owners


Johannesburg – Despite moving to adjusted level 2, which now allows more people in outdoor and indoor venues, for some in the restaurant industry, the move came too little too late.

Curfew will not start at 11pm and establishments such as restaurants and bars will need to close by 10pm.

Gatherings are limited to a maximum of 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors.

The Restaurant Association of South Africa has on numerous occasions highlighted the plight of owners who have been hit hard throughout the pandemic and have called on government to intervene.

Esme Collins, who owns the Cottage Restaurant in Pennington, in KwaZulu-Natal, said her business was doing very well until Covid-19 hit last year.

Collins said she tried just about everything to keep her restaurant open, which she calls her ‘baby’, even the takeaway option but that wasn’t feasible.

She said she was now sitting with debt of R250,000 and didn’t know how she was going to repay it.

“The hardest point was saying I failed, because I’ve tried everything. Bear in mind I have to pay my creditors about R250,000. Really, how I’m going to get it? I don’t know, and at 75, It’s very difficult to go look for a job just to pay my creditors.”

She said there had been no support from the government. She added that in December when they thought there was a chance to save her restaurant, they were hit by restrictions again.

“We weren’t out of lockdown for long. When they came on the 23rd I think it was a December and stopped all alcohol, and all that, again, we didn’t even have a festive season to help us out,” added Collins.


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