South Africa will allow restaurants to resume sit-down meals on Monday in a further easing of coronavirus lockdown restrictions.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced that restaurants, fast food outlets and coffee shops could offer sit-in services but would not be able to serve alcohol.
While on site consumption of alcohol will not be allowed, patrons can purchase alcohol and take it home.
Kubayi-Ngubane said, alcohol regulations fall under the Trade and Industry department and the current regulations state that alcohol should be consumed off site.
The Restaurant Association of South Africa had been calling for restaurants to be returned to 70% capacity, with liquor sales seven days a week until 21:00.
This as restaurant trading margins are hugely dependent on selling alcohol.
While speaking on eNCA Tourism Business Council of South Africa, CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said many restaurants might find it unprofitable to reopen without on-site alcohol consumption.
“At the end of it all it goes some way but we’re still far off and businesses are going to continue to bleed, retrenchments are coming in large volumes,” he said.
Kubayi-Ngubane has confirmed that about 30% of the country’s restaurants have already been forced to close permanently.