The coronavirus pandemic has taken yet another victim, this time in the form of Ballito favourite Gianni’s Ristorante.
A fixture of the beachfront for almost 9 years, Gianni’s was forced to close as a result of the restrictions on sit down dining.
Restaurant ownership is no mean feat at the best of times, but current circumstances have made it all but impossible, said owner John Coburn.
Although there were attempts made by most of the restaurants in the area, Gianni’s included, to weather the storm by producing takeaway meals, the lessening of restrictions has come too late.
“We tried to adapt as best we could, but takeaways simply were not our line of business,” he said.
Aside from the loss of a popular dining option, the business closure also means 36 jobs losses.
John said laying off loyal staff was difficult.
“We tried wherever we could to help our staff in any way possible.”
The five-month long lockdown was the second financial blow Coburn had to face recently – last year the roof of the restaurant was blown off in a storm.
“It is not quite the 70th birthday that I had planned,” joked John, whose birthday last Friday coincided with the closing.
He has remained upbeat, choosing to remember the outpouring of support from the community in this trying time.
“We will certainly miss the people of Ballito and KwaDukuza who have been so supportive. Cheers, we wish you well.”