With the extension of the State of Disaster to 15 December 2021, Fedhasa has called on government to use all other mechanisms at its disposal to control the spread of Covid and avoid instituting regulations which hamper the hospitality sector's operations and ability to secure jobs. "As an industry, we are not insensitive to the fact that balancing lives and livelihoods is an impossible task and we understand that sacrifices have to be made. However, hotels and restaurants are not just a non-essential lifestyle activity which can be switched on and off to stem the spread of Covid," says Rosemary Anderson, Fedhasa national chair.
Unlike many other sectors, the hospitality sector has largely borne the brunt of changing lockdown regulations, despite putting in place stringent health and hygiene protocols. "Thousands of livelihoods have already been lost and every day the operations of the hospitality sector and its extended supply chain are curtailed through regulations, more livelihoods hang in the balance," says Anderson.
A call to government
Consequently, Fedhasa is calling on government to make every effort to avoid imposing additional restrictions on the sector, particularly over the festive season break when many businesses will be trying to recover from the losses over the past 19 months.
"In addition to a public health campaign encouraging citizens to comply with non-pharmaceutical protocols, we would like to see a much faster rate of vaccination and a strengthened healthcare system as these really are the only way we can eliminate continuing surges, avoid Covid limiting operations and restore some semblance of normality in our lives," adds Anderson.
To this end, Fedhasa has put its weight behind the industry-wide #Jab4Tourism campaign encouraging hospitality and tourism staff to be fully vaccinated and show its guests that the sector cares about their safety and that of its frontline teams.
"We also ask South Africans to do everything they can to act responsibly, adhere to the non-pharmaceutical protocols and consume alcohol responsibly, so that as an industry we can operate safely.
"Keeping our doors open largely depends on how we all behave in the next few months. Please mask up Mzansi, get your #Jab4Tourism and help us save our summer season," concludes Anderson.