GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT NEWS - The relaxation of the lockdown regulations to Level 2 was welcomed with great relief on all fronts.
Restaurants and pubs are happily serving liquor again and the opening up of interprovincial travel will boost the hard-hit tourism sector.
Those who have been buying cigarettes and alcohol on the black market once again have a choice of brands at market related prices, although the price of cigarettes has increased significantly.
Agri Western Cape CEO Jannie Strydom said tourism is an integral part of the wine industry and has also been negatively affected by the alcohol ban and ban on travel across provincial borders. "The next challenge is to increase the limit from 50 people to 100 so that businesses with entertainment facilities can also run sustainable businesses again."
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said domestic wine sales represent more than half of the province's sales and the resumption of sales is an important first step in saving jobs.
In a public address on Monday, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the decision to moderate restrictions follows the decrease in the Covid-19 infection rate, an improved national case recovery rate of more than 80%, improvement of the case fatality rate to around 1,6%, and sufficient hospital capacity for the current case load.
"As we continue with our fight against the impact of the Covid-19 virus, we aim to limit hardship, and there is no desire to leave stringent prohibitions in place for longer than necessary," she said.
She appealed to citizens to maintain the strict hygiene protocols. "We must exercise more caution and be more vigilant than before. It is our actions now that will determine our future. When we further open the economy, the risks mount and could lead to a resurgence and a second wave.
The restrictions have been amended as follows:
• Curfew remains in place between 22:00 and 04:00.
ACTIVITIES AND OPENING OF PLACES PERMITTED SUBJECT TO HYGIENE PROTOCOLS AND DIRECTIONS (STILL TO BE ISSUED IN CERTAIN CASES):
• Interprovincial travel.
• Sale of cigarettes.
• Sale of alcohol at off-sale and retail outlets only from Mondays to Thursdays, 09:00 to 17:00.
• Serving of alcohol by licensed establishments such as restaurants, bars and taverns daily from 06:00 to 22:00. Limited to a maximum of 50 patrons.
• Gyms and fitness centres and swimming pools limited to a maximum of 50 persons.
• Beaches and public parks. Water-based activities and certain categories of tourism activities including boat-based whale watching, scuba diving, shark cage diving, kayaking, river rafting, and speed boat rides.
• Environmental sector activities including zoos, aquariums, animal sanctuaries and rehabilitation centres.
• Hospitality and entertainment businesses such as accommodation establishments, tour operators, and casinos operating at 50% of floor capacity.
• Events at function venues, subject to a limitation of 50 persons.
• Funerals and weddings limited to 50 people. Restriction of no night vigils still applicable.
• Theatres and cinemas, concerts and entertainment events limited to a maximum of 50 people (sale of tickets through a booking system).
• Social gatherings at places of residence, including visits to friends and family, but limited to 10 visitors.
• Museums, galleries, libraries and archives.
• All auctions.
• All sporting activities, including professional and non-professional matches, authorised by recognised sporting bodies. No spectators. Only journalists, radio and television crew, security personnel, emergency medical services, and the necessary employees employed by the owners of the match venue allowed. Only the required number of players, match officials, support staff and medical crew for the match allowed.
• No international sport events are allowed.
• International travel and cruise ships for leisure.
• Night club operations.
UNCERTAIN: HOSPITAL VISITS AND OLDER PERSONS' RESIDENTIAL FACILITIES
Section 58 of the published Level 2 regulations, titled "Controlled visits by members of the public", includes visits to health facilities (hospitals) and older persons' residential facilities. However, the section ends by saying these "are prohibited except to the extent and in the manner directed by the relevant Cabinet member".
• Directions are still to be issued for the resumption of different modes of public transport to cater for the gradual return to work of people, including domestic air travel, rail, bus and taxi services, e-hailing services and private vehicles.
• Bus and taxi services may not carry more than 70% of the licensed capacity for long distance travel (more than 200km) and may carry 100% of the licensed capacity for any trip not regarded as long distance travel.
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