Hospitality industry anxious after Covid-19 rules extended to December 15

A public health campaign encouraging citizens to comply with non-pharmaceutical protocols, a much faster rate of vaccination and a strengthened healthcare system is the way to deal with Covid-19, says Fedhasa.
A public health campaign encouraging citizens to comply with non-pharmaceutical protocols, a much faster rate of vaccination and a strengthened healthcare system is the way to deal with Covid-19, says Fedhasa.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

“Don’t shut us down in December,” the hospitality industry pleaded on Tuesday, calling on government not to impose additional restrictions on the sector.

This comes as the national state of disaster declared to handle the Covid-19 pandemic was extended to December 15 by co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at the weekend.

She cited a “need to augment the existing legislation and contingency arrangements undertaken by the organs of state to address the impact of the disaster”.

The Federated Hospitality Association of SA (Fedhasa), the umbrella association for hotels, restaurants, conference centres, caterers, self-catering accommodation, B&Bs, guest houses, taverns and shebeens, is asking government to use “all other mechanisms at its disposal” to control the spread of the coronavirus.

Fedhasa urged government to make every effort to avoid instituting regulations which hamper the hospitality sector’s operations, “particularly over the festive season break when many businesses will be trying to recover from the losses over the past 19 months”.

“As an industry, we are not insensitive to the fact that balancing lives and livelihoods is an impossible task and we understand sacrifices have to be made. However, hotels and restaurants are not just a non-essential lifestyle activity which can be switched on and off to stem the spread of Covid-19,” said Rosemary Anderson, Fedhasa national chairperson.

Unlike many other sectors, the hospitality sector has largely borne the brunt of changing lockdown regulations, despite putting in place stringent health and hygiene protocols, she said.

“Thousands of livelihoods have already been lost and every day the operations of the hospitality sector and its extended supply chain are curtailed through regulations, more livelihoods hang in the balance.”

Anderson said Fedhasa advocated:

  • a public health campaign encouraging citizens to comply with non-pharmaceutical protocols;
  • a much faster rate of vaccination; and 
  • a strengthened healthcare system.

“These really are the only way we can eliminate continuing surges, avoid Covid-19 limiting operations and restore some semblance of normality in our lives.”

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