Durban - While horse-racing fans and fashionistas were still celebrating the return of the in-person Hollywoodbets Durban July, Health Minister Joe Phaahla added the cherry on top by announcing the removal of all Covid-19 regulations last week.
This new amendment means that all Covid-19 restrictions and regulations related to gatherings have been lifted, and that all sporting and other events have opened up unconditionally.
Hence, Gold Circle will welcome thousands of horse-racing fans without any Covid-related requirements on July 2 for the Hollywoodbets Durban July.
Gold Circle marketing and events executive Stephen Marshall said proof of Covid-19 vaccination or negative PCR tests were no longer a requirement for entry to the Hollywoodbets Greyville racecourse.
“The Durban July has traditionally brought the rainbow nation together in a spirit of goodwill and excitement and with the support of our new sponsors Hollywoodbets, this year will now be no different,” he added.
Marshall said tickets for the event were still available at Computicket outlets.
One of the satellite sites for the Durban July, Maqaqa Exclusive Lifestyle based in Adams, south of Durban said it was excited by the opportunity to be part of the historic horse-racing event and even more excited for the removal of the Covid-19 rules.
Maqaqa CEO Hlengiwe Ngwabe said as a new lifestyle lounge which started during the Covid-19 pandemic, this would be the first time the venue would operate without any restrictions.
“Being nominated as a satellite site is an honour, we are well-prepared and we will be broadcasting everything that will be happening at the Greyville racecourse live,” she said.
Afrotainement’s Mthokozisi “Tira” Khathi said the changes couldn’t have come at a better time.
“Most people were sceptical about attending, especially since they had to test or provide proof of vaccination, now there is nothing holding them back,” he said.
While this is good news for most, independent economic adviser Professor Bonke Dumisa said those who had built their businesses around the pandemic and offering Covid-19-related services would suffer due to the restrictions being scrapped.
However, he added the removal of the restrictions would be a boost for the KZN economy.
EThekwini Municipality said it was pulling out all the stops to ensure that visitors have the best Durban July experience.
“The city is anticipating an influx of local and overseas visitors with 35 000 spectators anticipated.
“However, with the relaxing of the Covid-19 venue restrictions, the numbers could increase,” said eThekwini Municipality spokesperson Msawakhe Mayisela.
The city said Durban Tourism was anticipating a direct spend of R145 million.
“For the entire winter season, the city predicts there will be 1 025 000 tourists, with a direct spend of R1.45 billion, and a GDP contribution of R3.6bn,” Mayisela added.