The closure of hospitality venues during the pandemic negatively impacted the social and mental well-being of the population.
The closure of hospitality venues during the pandemic negatively impacted the social and mental well-being of the population.

Hospitality sector key to social and mental well-being – report

By Nicola Daniels Time of article published Oct 14, 2021

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CAPE TOWN - The closure of bars, restaurants and cafés has negatively impacted the social and mental well-being of adults.

This is according to a global report on international YouGov polling and focus groups by WorldThinks, commissioned by the International Alliance for Responsible Drinking (Iard).

It comes after an extended period during which lockdown and curfew restrictions limited opportunities for communities to socialise in many countries across the globe.

Two-thirds (66%) of respondents across 10 countries said the closure of hospitality venues during the pandemic negatively impacted the social and mental well-being of the population, while almost half (45%) agreed that their own social and mental well-being had been harmed.

Of the 11 400 adults polled, more than half (57%) of all respondents claimed that they better understand the contribution of cafés, bars, and restaurants to their social and mental well-being since experiencing lockdown, rising to more than three-quarters (77%) in South Africa and more than two-thirds (70%) in Mexico.

“The survey work highlights just how essential cafés, bars, and restaurants are to communities and our social and mental well-being as individuals. As well as being major employers, they make our communities vibrant and enjoyable places to live and work – creating important spaces for us to socialise and relax. It’s now clear that having experienced life without hospitality venues, we all have a renewed appreciation of just how vital a role they play," said Iard president Henry Ashworth.

When asked what factors had most impacted their happiness since restrictions were lifted, almost half (45%) of respondents said the opportunity to socialise with friends and family outside the home.

The report also includes insights from a focus group undertaken by WorldThinks, who interviewed 74 patrons including those in five major cities – Cape Town, London, New York, Mexico City, and Barcelona – to understand the impact of Covid-19 restrictions in all areas.

Participants from all areas felt negatively impacted by the closure of venues.

At an individual level, it exacerbated feelings of boredom and isolation, and at a societal level it resulted in widespread job losses, which was particularly devastating in markets with less government support, the findings stated.

On a positive note, more than half of respondents would like the improved standards of cleanliness (58%) and better ventilation (52%) to stay once all restrictions are lifted, and four in 10 (41%) would like improved outdoor facilities to remain.

“The introduction of additional safety measures, such as improved cleanliness, has set the stage for us to rebuild a safe and thriving cafe, bar, and restaurant culture, which has been sorely missed by so many. It is incumbent on us all to enjoy these spaces responsibly as they reopen, to benefit our social and mental well-being and that of whole communities alongside protecting our physical health,” said Ashworth.

The full report is available here.

Cape Times

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