Frustration is building up among the public unable to enjoy the balmy sunny weather at the beach because of the lockdown. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.
Frustration is building up among the public unable to enjoy the balmy sunny weather at the beach because of the lockdown. Picture: Leon Lestrade/African News Agency/ANA.

Restrictions make would-be beachgoers hot under the collar

By Sukaina Ishmail Time of article published Jan 15, 2021

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Cape Town - Frustration is building up among the public unable to enjoy the balmy sunny weather at the beach because of the lockdown.

All beaches, dams, lakes and rivers, inclusive of all recreational facilities in hotspot areas are closed to the public in 22 hotspot areas as declared by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Atlantic Surf Co surf shop owner in Table View Anton Fourie said: “For the majority of people, the beach restrictions do not make logical sense. We have no problem with avoiding big groups, even the curfew but people not being able to practice their sport on the beach including surfing and swimming is unnecessary.”

He said people walking, fishing and swimming on the beach pose no major risk towards the spread of Covid-19.

“The government needs to reassess this restriction due to its lack of proper reasoning. We are beginning to feel like criminals because of wanting to go into the water and practise a healthy lifestyle, especially living in a democratic society,” he said.

Lifesaving SA general manager Helen Herbert said: “Beaches and recreational aquatic areas attract a large number of people and during our summer these are the chosen places to be, but they are also some of the hardest to police when it comes to access control and social distancing when they are open.

“Many people use the recreational aspect of the venues to indulge in the consumption of alcohol which too can lead to irresponsible behaviour.”

She said group activities have been proven to lead to increased infections. Therefore, the closure of these facilities is understandable in the risk management of the spread of Covid-19 at this time.

Herbert said: “I believe the restriction can however be reassessed, where the access to the facility can be managed within the prescribed usage limits and set time-frames are given with sanitising between sessions.”

She said this is a challenge for beaches and other open-air recreational facilities which currently have unrestricted access points. It is also an extremely costly project for any municipality to try and sanitise fixtures and fittings like benches, chairs, bins etc. at all these venues repeatedly throughout the day.

Cape Argus

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