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SA restaurants hold ’empty seats protests’

Written by on July 23, 2020

Restaurant owners and workers in South Africa’s tourist areas including Cape Town are holding peaceful protests against the government’s reimposed curfew and a ban on sale of alcoholic drinks.

Pictures and videos shared online from Stellenbosch town in the Western Cape province show them holding banners warning of job losses if the government does not reverse the restrictions.

They also put out empty seats to show how badly their businesses had been hit by restrictions imposed to curb the spread of coronavirus.

Earlier this week two restaurant groups wrote to President Cyril Ramaphosa pleading to be allowed to sell alcohol.

One suggested that it wants a limit of two drinks per customer, as long as they buy a meal, in areas less hit by the coronavirus, Business Insider South Africa reports.

The other group is proposing for an extra hour before curfew, until 22:00 local time. The curfew currently runs from 21:00 to 04:00.

On 12 July President Ramaphosa introduced new restrictions, including another ban on alcohol sales, to help contain the spread of coronavirus.

He said the alcohol ban – South Africa’s second this year – would take pressure off the national healthcare system as it deals with rising numbers of Covid-19 patients.

Doctors and police say the previous ban in March contributed to a sharp drop in emergency admissions to hospital. But the country’s brewers and wine makers complained they were being driven out of business.

South Africa remains the hardest-hit country on the continent.


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