Winde welcomes easing of lockdown restrictions announced by Ramaphosa
Cape Town - Premier Alan Winde has welcomed news that soon restaurants, hair salons and cinemas will be open for business as government further eases lockdown restrictions ordered to halt the spread of Covid-19.
Addressing the nation on Wednesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said more than 100 days after lockdown restrictions were made law, South Africa was still near the beginning of the pandemic which could last for “many more months, possibly years”.
Earlier this week Small Business Development Minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni hinted that lockdown restrictions would be relaxed to open more sectors of the economy.
Ramaphosa said that since the start of the Covid-19 outbreak, there had been 80 412 confirmed cases in South Africa.
“Of these, 44 331 people - or around 55% - have recovered. That means there are currently 34 407 active cases in the country,” said Ramaphosa.
He said government’s R500 billion relief package was not sufficient and with advice from scientists and consultation with premiers, the Cabinet had ease restrictions on:
* Restaurants for sit-down dining.
* Accredited and licensed accommodation except for home-sharing (AirBnB).
* Conferences and meetings for business purposes and in line with restrictions on public gatherings.
* Cinemas and theatres will be allowed to open but with restrictions in place on the number of people.
* Casinos and personal care services like hair salons and spas will also be allowed to open with safety protocols adhered to.
Ramaphosa said: “We have taken this decision with due care and seriousness, appreciating the risks associated with each activity and the measures needed to manage those risks.
“Altogether, these industries employed over 500 000 people before the lockdown. We have had to think about these people and those who depend on them for their livelihoods.
“Through the easing of the lockdown, we are continuing to balance our overriding objective of saving lives and preserving livelihoods.”
He said announcements on the opening of businesses would be made in due course.
“The last three months have been particularly difficult for the millions of women who work as hairdressers, in spas, as therapists and technicians.Many of these are businesses are owned by women and a source of income in the informal sector.
“Giving women the necessary support to become financially independent is the greatest of priorities, especially now.”
Winde said the announcements made by the president will allow more sectors of the economy to re-open and allow people, who have not been able to work since the lockdown was first implemented, to start earning a salary again.
"The lockdown, first implemented in March, has had a severe impact on our economy, and has resulted in an increased need for humanitarian support as people have been unable to feed their families as a result of not earning a salary, or having lost their jobs," Winde said.
"The Western Cape's tourism and hospitality industry sustains thousands of jobs in the province and allowing restaurants to re-open for sit down meals, and certain tourism and conferencing services to re-open will provide some relief. We await further clarity from the regulations detailing when and how these businesses will be able to operate."
Winde said that the closure of personal care services has had a major impact on a number of small businesses "which as President Ramaphosa pointed out, are overwhelmingly owned and staffed by women". He explained that allowing these businesses to re-open will have a major impact on many homes and families across the Western Cape and the country.
"The re-opening of these businesses must be done carefully, and with the utmost attention to hygiene and safety standards," he said.
"The re-opening of more areas of our economy must not be seen as an opportunity to let our guards down. We must remain vigilant in our efforts to minimise the spread of the virus. Stay at home wherever possible, especially if you are in one of the high-risk groups."@mtyala