With the number of Covid-19 cases and deaths rapidly increasing in the country, event organisers and leisure establishment owners now say they will not be accessories to murder, and will do what they can to continue operating while following the rules and regulations to the tee.
Before the new regulations that reduced the number of people at gatherings from 100 to 50, numerous establishments around the country took advantage, trying to economise and roping in foreign musicians to pull larger crowds. Some even exceeded the number of attendees in order to make a profit so that their business could get back on track.
It is commonly known that event hosts and establishments have been hugely impacted by the novel coronavirus for the past 15 months, and continue to experience the hardship.
Thomas Nakasole of Funky Lab Social Café told VIBEZ! they might have to retrench more staff.
“We can host private events for 50 people, although it will still be a loss. We are licensed as clubs, and even if we try our best, our audience comes from 22h00. I have to let go of 26 staff and five managers,” he said.
The café recently hosted South African Zodwa Wabantu to tease the O61 Festival slated for July, but with new restrictions and the curfew of 22h00 to 04h00, the plan to revive the entertainment industry is again brought to its knees.
“We were to host the festival at other entertainment places as well. We were planning on hosting this for it to be a successful event,” shared Nakashole.
To abide by the rules and make sure they play their part in not creating a platform for the spread of the virus, the café will be revamping to ensure patrons get to enjoy what it has to offer.
“We are open from 10h00 until 21h00, so we are busy restructuring from a night theme to a beer garden and restaurant, which is suitable for dining and light entertainment. The landlord and municipality want their shares, so business has to continue in a way. This is my way of life and paying bills,” he added, stating that the pandemic is continuing to gravely put livelihoods at stake.
Another establishment owner said it is not business as usual anymore, and there is no other way left but to abide by the set rules as customers’ wellbeing and health are important.
He told VIBEZ! on condition of anonymity that safety should come first, and he doesn’t want to be one of the many contributing factors that are enabling the increase in the number of Covid-19 cases.
He said the only intervention now is to assist the government in curbing the virus, and they will thus not host events anymore.
“This is not just because of the scary numbers. It will be a little bit insensitive from our side, looking at what is going on currently, to still encourage live gatherings.
“I think we have a lot of play in society, and it is important for us to lay back and let things calm down,” he said calmly.