Festive season Covid-19 regulations: What you need to know

All details correct as of 15 December 2020, as per Government Gazette.

As South Africa enters a second, and possibly more deadly, wave of Covid-19 cases more restaurant regulations were brought into effect last night by the government. The regulations are a compromise between business and public health, as South Africans start to get into the festive spirit.

The new regulations were gazetted overnight, which will help to keep transmissions restrained as we all try to enjoy the glorious December holidays.

What the legislation says:

The details of the government gazette are as follows and are in effect from 16 December 2020 until 3 January 2021.

All restaurants, bars, taverns, shebeens and similar establishments must be closed at 22:00, while the curfew will begin at 23:00 for those travelling home.

It is compulsory to wear a mask that covers your nose and mouth at all times when in public, whether indoors or outside.

Regulations taking effect immediately:

Any gathering of people, including restaurants, bars and taverns may only allow a maximum 100 pax indoors or a maximum of 250 pax outdoors. This includes staff members working in this space.

People not at tables need to be 1.5m spaced from each other

Not more than 50% of its capacity can be used if the venue us too small to observe the 1.5m distancing

Establishments must close at 10pm.

On-site consumption remains unchanged, and the limitations of an establishment’s Liquor License remains in effect.

Image by Getty.

A message from Eat Out

The Eat Out team has been monitoring infection rates closely, and we discuss it almost daily in our meetings. While these new regulations may seem harsh at a time of year when hospitality businesses are usually doing a roaring trade, Eat Out supports compliance and urges all customers and patrons to conduct themselves with consideration and caution when eating out this Festive season.

Eat Out strongly believes that restaurants, bars, and cafes are an important part of the South African economy and cultural landscape and that to protect them we must take some restrictive actions now.

It is far better for our restaurants to be open now with some regulations, than for all of them to be closed entirely. The industry may not survive a hard lockdown, and in that spirit, we urge all lovers of food to act responsibly.

Our message to customers is to please follow the house rules of the establishment that you are visiting. Wear a mask, record your details accurately and keep a distance from other patrons. In this way, we can all still enjoy the wonderful hospitality and service that South Africa’s restaurants are known for around the world.

To restaurant owners and operators, we say, we understand that this year has been hard for your business.

We encourage you to protect your business and staff by enforcing these regulations without exception. While capacity restrictions directly impact guest volumes – and ultimately income – non-compliance with social distancing carries  public health risks, and could hamper your ability to do business at all. We are blessed with a summer season at this time – let’s seat people outside wherever possible. Let’s keep transmissions low in our communities so that we can all continue to do what we love.

Eat Out spoke with Wendy Alberts of the Restaurant Association of South Africa.“Please adhere to the strictest health and safety measures and compliance at all times. Exercise your right of admission Do not allow patrons’ behaviour to compromise the industry”.

Your district or municipality may have additional restrictions if that area has been declared a hotpot. Please contact your local authorities for updates.

Read the full regulations here:

For more information please visit the official South African government resource portal.

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