Cape Town's famous festive lights event cancelled due to Covid-19
Cape Town - The City of Cape Town has taken a decision to cancel the annual festive lights switch-on event for 2020 due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the city said on Sunday.
"The iconic free, open air concert draws a crowd of approximately 100 000 people annually and sets the tone for Cape Town’s festive season," mayoral committee member for safety and security JP Smith said in a statement.
In light of the Covid-19 pandemic and the extension of the National Disaster Management Act restrictions on the number of people allowed at public gatherings it was important to "pause" the event for the safety of all those who would be involved in the concert, he said.
Additionally, it was important for the city to take into consideration the need for austerity, given the adverse impact the pandemic and subsequent lockdown had had on the economy.
"The festive lights switch-on is the city’s signature event which has helped usher in the joyous season for five decades while also providing entertainment for locals and tourists. We understand the disappointment that could arise from such a decision. However, there is a silver lining," Smith said.
The city was considering hosting several smaller events as part of the Cape Town CBD revitalisation programme, the first of which was set to take place at Greenmarket Square this week.
These events would be organised in line with the national lockdown restrictions and with the health and safety protocols in place.
"We are also in discussion with various event organisers to bring their events to the CBD. As the City of Cape Town, we believe events will be central in revitalising the economy going forward," he said.
Events had over the years been a major catalyst in the growth of auxiliary sectors such as hospitality, retail, and tourism, because the people who were attracted to the events hosted in the city spent money there.
"Over the past seven months the events industry has, however, seen a downturn and job losses due to regulations and, as the city, we have to assist in arresting this decline by supporting event organisers as much as we can to ensure that the sector remains afloat. This is critical for thousands of people who rely on this industry to feed their families," Smith said.
African News Agency