A staple of any ‘relegation’ to a tougher lockdown stage is an extension in the hours of our curfew. The previous overnight shutdowns – which took place from 23:00 to 4:00 – have been deemed ‘ineffective’ by the government, as new infections continue to soar. This move to Level 3 restrictions, however, is a blow to bars and restaurants across SA.
Level 3 changes: New curfew hours in South Africa revealed
The hospitality sector has been battered – properly, properly battered – by 15 months of lockdown restrictions. Total closures, reduced capacities, and controversial laws prohibiting alcohol sales have forced those in the industry to jump through some extremely difficult hoops, just to keep their businesses afloat.
However, in the face of a virus resurgence, a five-hour curfew will no longer cut the mustard, according to President Ramaphosa. Instead, it will now be extended to start at 22:00, and finish at 4:00 – staying in place for six hours. This will be in force for the duration of our time under Level 3 regulations, and will only alter at the behest of the government.
Why restaurants, bars are subjected to a ‘double blow
Although this is one of the more commonly altered regulations, that doesn’t exactly offer any consolation to those whose livelihoods are reliant on venues being given the maximum possible time to operate. Not only does an extended curfew trim those all-important hours down – it adds an extra one on top, and that can have a potentially devastating impact.
That’s because all bars, restaurants, and social venues have to close their doors ONE HOUR before curfew starts, to allow patrons to safely return home and avoid violating one of the longest-standing lockdown laws. Therefore, with a curfew starting at 22:00, restaurants and bars will have to shut up shop at 21:00, losing vital trade in the process.
Level 3 of lockdown will be with us for a number of weeks, and COVID-19 cases will have to drop significantly – as will the number of new hospitalisations and deaths – before restrictions can be eased once more.