GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - All the mayors and municipal managers of the Garden Route are meeting this morning to discuss the Covid-19 measures and restrictions announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night.
Garden Route Disaster Manager, Gerhard Otto told George Herald he would be asking the president to reconsider the overall closure of the beaches, but that he is not very hopeful that the National Coronavirus Command Council will reconsider its decision.
The closure of all beaches from 16 December to 3 January came as a huge shock to tourists and locals alike. The closure is expected to have a devastating impact on the tourism industry and the economy as holiday cancellations will have a severe effect on festive season spending in the region.
Only fishermen will be allowed on the beaches, but due to the curfew of 22:00 to 04:00, late night fishing is out of the question. A wry joke is doing the rounds that fishing rod and license sales are set to rocket and that we can expect a massive surge in this particular seaside pastime. Dad must brace himself to see many “rod in hand” youngsters and, if he's lucky, bikini clad ladies trying to catch a “big one” at his formerly secluded favourite fishing spot!
Social media users have been very outspoken saying the “mad decision to close local beaches” will lead to people flocking to malls for entertainment, saying thousands of people in the open air on a beach and in the ocean makes far more sense than thousands of people inside a shopping mall with poor ventilation.
South African screenwriter Darrel Bristow-Bovey tweeted earlier today: ”I am just thinking of everyone in Plett looking out of their hotel rooms at the sea. THAT is Plett rage.”
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde welcomed the differentiated approach regarding the Western Cape’s beaches, but says the closure of the Garden Route’s beaches will deal a devastating blow to the district’s economy, resulting in major job losses.
“Our position, as presented during consultations, remains that beaches in the Western Cape should remain open, provided proper steps can be taken to ensure health and safety guidelines are followed.”
Province will be making further submissions to National Government to achieve the right balance. “This intervention needs to be reconsidered”.
Whether all citizens will adhere to the beach ban remains to be seen, but should civil obedience be at the order of the day, the offenders will be liable for a fine, six months in jail, or both.
VIDEO: Beachgoers enjoy Wilderness Beach today, Tuesday 15 December:
* Video: Eugene Gunning
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