S. African restaurants association to take government to court over alcohol sale ban

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A closed liquor store, bared from opening due to Covid-19 restrictions, in Cape Town, South Africa, on Monday, Jan. 11, 2021. The pandemic and restrictions imposed to contain it have devastated Africa's most industrialized economy, and the extension of curbs that came into effect at the height of the holiday season bode ill for efforts to engineer a rebound. Photographer: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A closed liquor store, bared from opening due to COVID-19 restrictions, in Cape Town, South Africa. Photographer: Dwayne Senior/Bloomberg via Getty Images

The Restaurants Association of South Africa (RASA) said it was taking the government to court over the alcohol sale ban imposed in late December.

RASA CEO Wendy Alberts believed that restaurants were badly affected by the alcohol ban.

“The restaurants are decimated,” Alberts told Xinhua on Friday, “Take a walk at any restaurants on road and you will see it’s a ghost town. We are not even in a viable position to pay our bills.”

Trauma units in South African hospitals often battle with huge numbers of alcohol-related injuries, especially during holidays.

The aim of the liquor sale ban was to curb such hospital admissions while allowing medical workers to focus on COVID-19 patients.

Alberts said some restaurants were forced to retrench workers due to financial difficulties.

“We are retrenching staff, if the government is not even listening to us or helping, it will get worse,” she said.

In his recent address, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the alcohol ban would remain in place until a further announcement.

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