Day 96: What we know about the reopening of restaurants in lockdown

Updated 30 June 2020, 13:25

On Monday, new regulations by the Department of Tourism were gazetted. In addition to the updates posted on 26 June (see below), here are the rules restaurants, fast food outlets, coffee shops and diners need to take note of:

Staff regulations:

  • Employees must occupy scullery areas and use handwash basins one at a time.
  • Employees must try to avoid contact with one another and, where contact is unavoidable, they must wash their hands and go back to safe-spacing as quickly as possible.


  • An area separate from any food preparation areas must be demarcated for delivery services, such as Mr D Food or Uber Eats, to pick up food.
  • Pick-ups must be contactless.
  • Customers must wear a mask and sanitise their hands before and after accepting a delivery.

Dine-in customers: 

Buffets are not allowed and tables must be sanitised before and after each guest.

The 1.5m social distancing rule mentioned below (on 26 June) applies to all areas within the restaurant. For example, when diners are standing in a queue at the till or seated at a table, they need to be 1.5m away from any other person. Your waiter must also try to maintain a distance of at least 1m when taking your order.

The Gazette recommends that restaurants consider using a reservation system to manage capacity. (We encourage restaurants that are not already using the Eat Out booking platform to sign up now. Diners can manage their reservation via the Eat Out app. Click here for more about the Eat Out app and booking platform.)

You can read the full Gazette here.

This is a developing story.

Updated 26 June 2020, 17:45

A media briefing by Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane was held in Pretoria this evening on Level 3 enhanced regulations for the tourism sector.

We paid particular attention to how the new regulations will affect the re-opening of South African restaurants. The following regulations take effect on 29 June 2020. 


The number of people permitted in restaurants is limited to 1 per 1.5m squared.

Terms of entrance: 

Every guest must comply with screening, sanitisation and mask-wearing. 

Restaurants may deny entry to anyone who does not comply. 

What this means for guests: 

Records must be kept daily for all guests.

Screening, sanitisation and masks are compulsory. 

All guests must wear a mask at all times that covers the nose and mouth, except when eating or drinking.

Menus should be single-use or digital, or must be sanitised regularly.

Sanitising and hand-washing should take place regularly. 

What about alcohol?

Alcohol may not be consumed on-site. Regulations regarding alcohol sales will be announced at a later date by the Department of Trade and Industry. 

Alcohol sales will continued to be permitted as per current regulations, between Mondays to Thursdays, 8am to 5pm. 

Any alcohol purchased may be consumed in your private residence only. 

What this means for employees: 

Records must be kept daily for all employees and delivery persons. There will be a standard form for capturing personal details at tourism businesses. 

Screening, sanitisation and masks are compulsory. 

Employers must provide training for all staff members as laid out by the Department of Health. 

All deliveries must be sanitised. 

This is a developing story.

New updates to lockdown regulations, which officially unban restaurants from opening, were gazetted on the night of 25 June but still leave little clarity for the industry going forward. This comes eight days after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that sit-down restaurants would be allowed to open to the public.

The changes merely state that restaurants (along with sectors such as museums and libraries) must follow “strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures as provided for in directions that must be issued”.

There is no mention on the date of reopening, capacity limitations or any other protocols that must be in place.

While the amendments to the regulations are one step closer to opening one of the hardest-hit industries, there is still a lot of uncertainty and the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA) wrote to members on how it considered the new regulations “very vague” and that it did not meet expectations.

RASA went on to say that attorneys will be writing to the Minister requesting the immediate release of directions.

Eat Out is monitoring the situation very closely and will report on any updates and announcements as and when they are released by the government.

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