SA hospitality workers call attention to COVID-19 job impacts

By AT editor - 22 July 2020 at 11:06 pm
SA hospitality workers call attention to COVID-19 job impacts

South African photographer Daniela Zondagh captured a striking image of an empty table with 1,000 seats to help business owners in the hospitality industry illustrate the impact the coronavirus pandemic is having on their livelihoods.

Zondagh documented the table setup for Bosman Family Vineyards, which claims an eight-generation heritage in winemaking at the Lelienfontein farm in Western Cape. The image is part of a #jobssavelives social media campaign to call attention to the industry’s struggles, not least the 515 Bosman employee families that rely on winery income compromised by South Africa’s move to reinstitute an alcohol ban alongside other COVID-19 prevention measures.

“We are aware of the severity of this global pandemic. Our heart goes out to all our friends who have lost their jobs in the tourism and hospitality industry,” the company said on Wednesday.

South African officials now say some 438,000 jobs are threatened in the sector, with a 75 percent revenue drop forecast for 2020.

In Stellenbosch, workers held a two-hour protest Wednesday in support of the restaurant, wine and hospitality sectors, with protesters in Cape Town and the wine community of Franschhoek among those joining in solidarity.

“Our community of staff and customers mean the world to us,” said the owners at Jack Black’s Taproom in Cape Town. “We haven’t been able to open the Taproom nor run our brewery at full capacity during this time. Our thoughts are with the breweries, restaurants and hospitality workers out there who are fighting to survive.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced updated policies for South Africa on July 12, including a mandatory face mask policy and nighttime curfews. Those decisions come as coronavirus cases reached nearly 382,000 with more than 5,300 fatalities, according to Africa CDC data. There are 751,391 confirmed cases on the continent.

Image: Bosman/Daniela Zondagh

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