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Restaurant and bar owners defying curfew will be arrested: Minister Kubayi-Ngubane

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Wednesday urged restaurant and bar owners and managers to comply with level 2 regulations or face arrest.
Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane on Wednesday urged restaurant and bar owners and managers to comply with level 2 regulations or face arrest.
Image: Gallo Images / Beeld / Nasief Manie

Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has warned restaurant and bar owners and managers who break the 10pm curfew that they will be arrested.

Kubayi-Ngubane said on Wednesday that she had spoken to restaurant owners and pleaded with them to stick to closing times.

Since the country moved to level 2 of the lockdown, restaurants, bars and taverns are allowed to operate and serve alcohol until 10pm.

“We must comply with the curfew. Consequences [of non-compliance] are that the owner will be arrested, together with the manager, and then the justice system will take care of that,” she said.

“Once they don't comply, it becomes the matter of the justice system and the police — it is no longer the matter of the minister of tourism. That's what [police] minister Bheki Cele will be talking about. We had a conversation this morning. He did emphasise that I need to make it clear that ... you need to comply.”

The minister urged restaurants to play their part by complying to not regress on what had already been achieved.

She further emphasised that the issue of a curfew applied even to bars in hotels.

Speaking more broadly about the sector, Kubayi-Ngubane said the country was working on a tourism recovery strategy that would be submitted to the cabinet.

“Our intention is to start as soon as possible with the implementation of the recovery plan. We are mindful that this is critical as tourism is one of the pillars for the broader South African economic recovery and growth,” she said.

She said a country analysis of global trends placed SA in a favourable position post Covid-19.

“Our analysis of the global trends is that today and tomorrow’s traveller is looking for a destination that offers diversity. They will be still cautious to move from one country to the other during their tours and therefore are looking for countries that offer more experiences,” she said.

“SA as a destination offers variety and diversity [of] attractions, products and activities with world-class experiences, giving us competitive and comparative advantage among other destinations for this new global traveller.”

Kubayi-Ngubane was mum, however, on an expected date when SA would allow international tourism.

“At the beginning I got myself in trouble because I used my own projections to determine how we will be able to open, and then there were a lot of challenges. So I don't want to be in trouble,” she said.

“In terms of the risk-adjusted strategy, there are no dates. We don't work on dates, we work in terms of risk. Government assesses the risk to see whether the risk is high. When the risk is high, more restrictions are put [in place]. When the risk is low, then the restrictions are lower.

“Our wish is to say, as we [progress] in the after weeks or months, we should see our international tourism activities coming [back].”


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