The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) aims to educate and not berate restaurants that do not comply with health and safety regulations under alert level two.
Fedhasa CEO, Lee Zama, told Tourism Update that Fedhasa was working with the alcohol industry to establish an educational campaign for consumers and suppliers.
This follows a statement from Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, highlighting that her department had received numerous complaints regarding non-compliant restaurants since the start of lockdown alert level 2.
“This reportedly includes practices such as restaurants operating during curfew, offering take-away alcohol and non-adherence to social distancing or wearing of masks as required by law,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.
The Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) responded to the concerns by encouraging members to report non-compliant restaurants. “It is unthinkable that, due to a few operators not following the rules, the entire industry may suffer again,” said RASA CEO, Wendy Alberts.
However, Zama pointed out that these were small businesses and independent operators. “Somebody needs to help them rather than taking a draconian approach,” she said.
“There are a number of issues. First there is the issue of supporting the restaurant and making sure that they understand the protocols, and secondly there is consumer behaviour. Consumers need to be educated and understand the potential damage they could be causing at these establishments.”
Establishing compliance across all hospitality and tourism sectors is essential for the industry’s recovery, said Deputy Minister of Tourism, Fish Mahlalela. “It is the responsibility of civil society along with the public and private sectors to adhere to all health and safety regulations as it is in the best interest of all of us for businesses to operate and stimulate the economy.”
Zama agreed that health and safety compliance was essential but was critical of the Department of Tourism’s approach. “The Minister just wrote a letter about the issue but did not specify where the problem was nor quantified it. As local tourism authorities, we expect to be addressed on issues like this. We all need to work together to help the industry, and that includes the department.”