South African eateries on Wednesday organised the biggest protest in the history of the country’s restaurant industry to highlight their severe losses due to strict Covid-19 measures.
Almost 400,000 restaurant jobs may be lost due to government’s austere lockdown regulations, according to the Restaurant Association of South Africa (RASA), which is leading the campaign.
Under the motto, a “Million seats on the streets,” eateries across the country peacefully moved tables and chairs into the streets in front of their establishments.
“Mr President, we invite you to take any empty seat” read the official RASA campaign poster, hoping to engage President Cyril Ramaphosa in a debate about their plight.
Restaurant staff were holding placards that read “We will die of hunger not the virus” and shouted slogans including “Jobs save lives.”
Ramaphosa has implemented one of the world’s strictest lockdowns to curb the spread of the coronavirus since late March.
Restaurants were only allowed to reopen for sit-down service in late June at limited capacity and without serving alcohol.
South Africa has over 382,000 confirmed coronavirus cases, making it the fifth most affected country in the world.