It’s been the most exciting week since, oh, about mid-March, as many businesses got the go-ahead to reopen under the easing of Level 3 lockdown restrictions … but restaurants face deal-breaking challenges, and are diners sure they’ll be safe?

It seems like forever ago that President Cyril Ramaphosa announced to his fellow South Africans that certain businesses would be allowed to reopen during Level 3, part 2. It was probably only about two weeks ago; time has become meaningless (except when it feels like it’s standing still). The nitty gritty for some of these was gazetted fairly quickly, but restaurants were left hanging as the new rules and regulations for sit-down patrons were thrashed out.

When they were finally made public, it wasn’t exactly what everyone hoped to hear. It never is.

On the upside, the number of diners is not restricted – but social distancing will be enforced. This will affect how many tables in a restaurant (or outdoors) may be occupied, and in every instance this will slash the number of customers in any given service period. There’s a lengthy list of health, safety and hygiene protocols for staff, suppliers, and customers, which are welcomed. The biggest downside,…

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