Restaurants and the COVID-19 lockdown: What you need to know

Updated on 25 March 2020 at 09:29

Eat Out has confirmed an announcement by the Department of Tourism that lays out what the lockdown will mean for restaurant and other food services.

The letter, dated 24 March 2020, states: “In compliance with the nation-wide lockdown it should be noted that ALL restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee shops will be required to comply with the nation-wide lockdown for 21 days.”

“Such service providers have NOT been included on the list of what has been deemed essential services during the lockdown, will NOT be permitted to operate, and will thus need to be closed for the duration.”

“In addition, in compliance with the nation-wide lockdown, ALL food delivery services will also need to be suspended for 21 days…”

The lockdown is set to begin at 23:59 on Thursday night, with day 1 being Friday, 27 March 2020.

Read the full announcement here.

Updated on 19 March 2020 at 17:29
Eat Out understands that the Disaster Management Committee will be meeting soon to work on amendments to the regulations to clarify the current confusion regarding the interpretation and application.

In terms of the Disaster Management Act (2002), the South African Government has passed new rules to limit the trading hours of restaurants, bars, taverns, shebeens and liquor stores in an effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus.

Under the new rules, the assembly of more than 50 people at premises where liquor is sold and consumed is prohibited.

According to the legislation;

“8. (1) All on-consumption premises selling liquor, including taverns, restaurants and clubs, must be closed with immediate effect, or must accommodate no more than 50 persons at any time: Provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with COVID-19, are adhered to. “

Adequate space is determined as at least one square metre per person. 

With immediate effect, any establishment or business selling alcohol for on- or off-consumption may operate only between 9am and 6pm Monday to Saturday, and between 9am and 1pm on Sundays and public holidays. 

Additionally, no special or events liquor licenses may be considered for approval during the duration of the national state of disaster.

According to Fin24, “Hotels that sell liquor must also implement measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.”

Any establishment not in compliance with these rules must be closed with immediate effect.

This is a developing story.  


Eat Out recommends that business owners consult with their local liquor authority regarding compliance with these new rules. 

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