SA restaurant madness. Booze still banned.

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We must dine without wine.

 

By John Fraser

Well, we can now eat and be merry in restaurants again, but with no booze.

The latest anti-alcohol blast from our nanny government came as a bit of a shock.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday night that restaurants could open again for sit-down meals, with safety measures.  What he didn’t seem to say in his speech was that no alcohol could be served.

Once again, the booze-hating fraction inside the Cabinet appears to have triumphed over the rest.

Now, I am no great expert on the finances of running a restaurant, although I have some dear friends who are in that profession, but I am pretty sure that it will be far more difficult to make a living if you not only have to restrict numbers to ensure safe distancing of clients – but on top of this, the financial loss of not selling booze will be a crushing blow.

And what about the customers?  I have endured no-alcohol meals in some Muslim-owned restaurants, including in some of the top restaurants when I visited Saudi Arabia.

It is not the same.  Trust me.

Fine dining, for me anyway, involves fine wine.  Or beer…  With a cheeky post-consumption shot of something to aid the digestion.

You eat and drink to be merry, and there is not much fun if you go out just to eat and sulk.

In any event, I understand that looming legislation will not allow the tiniest trace of alcohol when you are driving, further drying up the supply of customers for our restaurants.

Yes, there are the Ubers and others.   But that further adds to the cost of the experience.

All in all, the lifeline which the government seemed to offer to the restaurant trade….is more like a tightening noose.

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