NATIONAL NEWS - Last Friday as walkers, runners, dog walkers and cyclists took to the streets for the first time since lockdown began five weeks ago, Ballito residents remain divided over whether public amenities like the promenade should be closed, reports North Coast Courier.
“It’s not the beach, nor a park, flea market or night club. So why is it closed?” asked Ballito resident Daryl Kimber.
Julia Unger also questioned why KwaZulu-Natal, more specifically KwaDukuza municipality, had not adopted the same approach of the Western Cape which had allowed the opening of its famous Golden Mile promenade.
Likewise, Durban’s promenade was open from Sunday, May 3, but under strict conditions.
The Ballito promenade and beaches remain closed in terms of the latest regulations of the Disaster Management Act, announced the Ballito UIP last week.
KwaDukuza municipality spokesperson, Sipho Mkhize said reopening the Ballito promenade was not a discussion they were having at the moment.
“What we are trying to do is avoid a free-for-all situation. Currently, iLembe is ranked second in the province with Covid-19 cases,” he said, warning that they had to be careful when it came to reopening public amenities.
All public amenities remain off-limits, meaning beaches, promenades, parks, public and tidal pools and reserves are closed.
Exercise is only allowed between 6am and 9am every morning and you may only exercise within a 5km radius of your home.
Other facilities which remain closed include gyms and sports grounds.
Social distancing measures need to still be followed and no exercise clubs are allowed to operate. You are also required to wear a face mask while exercising outdoors.
The three-hour window during which people are allowed to exercise has also come under heavy scrutiny, with some saying it defeats the purpose of social distancing by creating congestion in public spaces.
Resident Rudy Celestino said: “Once again the lockdown rules make absolutely no sense. If a person wants to go run at 3pm what is the problem? There would be less of a rush to get out and freedom and a lot more social distancing. Putting a time to it gets everyone out at the same time. It’s just logic!”
One cyclist said he was just grateful to be outdoors as this was his first time he had exercised outside of his home in five weeks.
Another Ballito resident said the exercise window did not accommodate those who had to be at work by 8am or earlier as sunrise was only after 6am each day and many people do not want to run in the dark for safety reasons.
However, some have welcomed the precautions of keeping public amenities closed. Resident James Middleton argued that people who violated the regulations should be fined.
“What makes people think they are better than everyone else? We all would love to walk while we watch the ocean,” said Middleton.