“Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” is a song from the musical “Les Miserables” based on the book of the same title by Victor Hugo.
In the show, one of the characters, Marius, is seriously wounded and his friends are killed. When Marius is well enough to be up and around again, he returns to the bar where he and his friends planned the revolution. There, he mourns his losses.
The song begins:
“There’s a grief that can’t be spoken
There’s a pain goes on and on.
Empty chairs at empty tables,
Now my friends are dead and gone.
|101 Meade Empty Seats & Empty Tables||101 Meade Owners Jeremy & Ben Gibbs||Mila, an ODIN rescue puppy supports her Mommy, Anje, who is Manager at 101 Meade|
Though the circumstances may be different, the Hospitality Industry (like many others) are facing a war of their own. The risks related to COVID_19, Lockdown, and its unreasonably stringent and extremely confusing regulations have the Industry and, specifically, restaurants on their knees. Many restaurants have had to close their doors permanently. Those that are limping ahead in an effort to survive, have had to lay off staff – some as many as 80%!
On Wednesday, 22 July 2020, thousands of restaurants across South Africa were joined by 101 Meade in support of the National Drive “1 Million Seats on the Streets” between 12:00 and 14:00, the busiest daytime hours for any restaurant.
“We were in agreement with the initial 3 weeks of Lockdown and the accompanying alcohol ban and we gave Government our full support. Once we could partially re-open, our incredible Team came up with innovative ideas to generate additional income and to provide work for our Staff. We had barely moved the furniture in our restaurant to accommodate social distancing requirements when the new ban and a further Lockdown was announced. Nothing about the new regulations make any practical sense! How is it deemed to be safe to travel in vehicles at 100% capacity but our staff are not able to fulfill their Constitutional right to an income?” asked Jeremy Gibbs, Co-Owner of 101 Meade in George.
Gibbs was joined by his brother and Co-Owner, Ben, the entire 101 Meade Staff, and many of their clients in a very well-coordinated peaceful protest outside their restaurant. They were joined by two other restaurants in Meade Street – Meade Café and Caloroso. They brandished posters with strong messages, including Our Staff Matters! They need to Live! Stop Killing Business! We Need to Survive! #JobsSaveLives End The Curfew Now! #socialdistancing Stop This Madness! We Need to Survive! We Deserve to Survive COVID_19 Too!