Can South African Restaurants re-open today?

The Minister of Tourism, on Friday, 26 June 2020, issued a media statement setting out operational guidelines, which purports to be the guidelines that will be applicable to Restaurants, Conference Facilities, Accommodation and Casinos and in essence contains the following:

  • Restaurants are required to conduct a screening questionnaire on guests. Restaurants may refuse admission if they deem a guest is a safety risk;
  • No person may enter the premises without a cloth mask or any homemade item that covers the nose and mouth;
  • Masks must be worn at all times except where eating and drinking;
  • All guests must sanitise before entering the premises;
  • There must be a distance of at least 1.5 metres between the customer and the point-of-sale serving counter. The same distance will also apply to queuing customers and between queues at different till points;
  • Customers should also be seated 1.5 metres apart;
  • Restaurants should consider a reservation system where possible to manage demand and ensure capacity limits;
  • No self-service buffets are allowed;
  • Menus must be replaced with non-touch options or sanitised after each use;
  • Tables must be sanitised before and after each guest;
  • Where possible and while taking orders, waiting staff should stand at least a metre from the table.

However, at the time of writing, the guidelines have not yet been gazetted.

Although it is expected that the gazetted guidelines will conform to those contained in the media statement, this is not guaranteed, as it has happened in the past that final gazetted regulations differed significantly from those reported in the media. It is in the sole discretion of the COVID GODS.

The media statement furthermore refers to a detailed questionnaire, which must be completed, in the case of restaurants, but which will be published together with the regulations……and still has not as the COVID GODS have got more poressing items on the agenda than the well-being of businesses since they do NOT have to EARN their money.

However, Into SA is of the opinion that the Media Statement provides enough legal ground to open on Monday as long as the pre-published guidelines are adhered to with the diligence of a responsible business owner. For further guidance, please contact Into SA.

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