The government has resolved to ease the curfew by an hour to enable restaurants to maximise their peak customer-serving time.
Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said the curfew start would be shifted from 9pm to 10pm. Intraprovincial travel for leisure would also be permitted under lockdown level 3.
The move comes after a series of protests by the restaurant industry which took issue with the regulations, in particular the curfew and ban on alcohol sales which directly affected their profit margins.
“In our recent discussions with the restaurant sector, two issues were raised with regards to current regulations. One was the crippling effect of the nine o’clock curfew to restaurant business operations and the second was the issue of alcohol sales,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.
“To comply with the current curfew regulation, restaurants are unable to serve dinner to their customers, which means that they are unable to operate at the peak time of their business day. In response to this challenge, the cabinet has agreed to move the curfew to start at 10pm to allow for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants.
“We believe that this change will go a long way towards increasing their revenue-generation.”
The department’s director-general Victor Tharage said the 10pm change came as a result of submissions from the industry which indicated that it would allow for optimum service.
Intraprovincial travel, travelling within your province of residence, will also now be permitted with the exception of short-term home rental and sharing. There is a limit of two people per room with the exceptions of “nuclear families”.
The minister also announced the outcomes of the R200m relief fund, saying the budget allowed for only 4,000 of the 7,284 valid applications to be granted.
“In addition, we welcome the decision by the minister of finance to review and change the qualifying criteria for the R200bn Covid-19 loan guarantee scheme, so that more businesses can gain access to the funds. We encourage businesses in our sector to exploit this opportunity. Similarly, we welcome the announcement by minister Nxesi of the extension of the temporary employer/employee relief scheme (Ters), until August 15. This will go a long way for many businesses and employees.”
The changes are still to be formalised in government regulations.