BUSINESS NEWS - There will be no jazz, dancing, time to chat or relax at the Ensimini Jazz Lounge – Dawn Park’s popular watering hole – when the liquor industry opens for business next week.
Tavern owner Martin Hlongwa, who serves on the Gauteng Liquor Forum executive in Ekurhuleni, is “looking forward to opening day”, but said next Monday would be “too late for some”.
“Due to the lockdown, we have had problems, with our members not being able to sustain themselves, due to money drying up.
“Most of the people in the business won’t be able to come back.
“We have about 40,000 members in Gauteng. We thought the lockdown and temporary closure of outlets like shebeens and taverns [most of whom were never assisted with anything by government] was going to be short-term.
“But it went on for so long and we could not keep paying employee salaries. Some of us lost our homes and cars.”
Government’s decision to only allow a take-away service “will make us operate like spaza shops and no one will be able to sit down and enjoy the jazz at the lounge”.
Hlongwa said the industry was “ready to cooperate with government in the fight against the coronavirus.
“Despite challenges, we are ready to operate, happy that players like SA Breweries and Heineken will be giving us assistance.”