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How South Africans feel about dining out during a pandemic

This week, we reached out on social media to find out how the Eat Out audience feels about the lockdown restrictions and dining out right now. Here’s what you had to say.

Are you visiting restaurants?

It seems South Africa is still divided on this one. On Instagram, more people have visited restaurants than those who haven’t (921 vs 857), while on Twitter, the majority of people said they haven’t dined out yet. More than 1,000 people have some anxiety about dining out, while 608 people stated that they don’t feel nervous or anxious at all.

Those who have dined at a restaurant are mostly satisfied with their experience and the health precautions taken by the establishment (910 vs 238 on Instagram), although more than 1,000 people think that precautions can be increased.

Photo by Jan Ras

Should everyone be wearing masks?

Controversially, while most diners think that all restaurant staff should wear masks, not everyone agrees that all guests should wear masks, with only 120 people on Instagram voting that staff don’t need to wear masks and 475 people voting that guests don’t need to wear masks. However, over 1,000 people agree that both guests and staff should wear masks at all times.

The big question: How do you feel about the alcohol ban and the 9pm curfew?

The two biggest debates in the industry have been about the implementation of an alcohol ban and a curfew. More than 1,400 respondents believe that a curfew is not an appropriate way to halt the spread of COVID-19, but some are willing to trade time for alcohol, stating that government should allow alcohol sales but keep the curfew in place.

Still others believe in an ideal formula: allowing alcohol sales but limiting the amount per person. Notably, many doctors reached out to us, saying that the alcohol ban has had a significantly positive impact on the availability of hospital beds for COVID-19 patients.

All in all, it’s clear that the government has had and continues to have tough decisions on their hands. And while they deliberate, the hospitality and tourism sector continues to suffer. But is a win-win solution possible? We reached out to an economist to find out more about the impact of the lockdown restrictions.

Also read: 5 fellow South Africans tell us about their first sit-down dining experiences in a pandemic

Header image by Jan Ras

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