Picture: Pixabay
Picture: Pixabay

Cape wine farms close as Dutch tourist tests positive for Covid-19

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 17, 2020

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Cape Town - Two wine farm in the Western Cape have confirmed they will close for two weeks after a Dutch tourist who had been wine tasting there tested positive for Covid-19. 

The tourist was a member of a tour group that reportedly visited many farms in the Cape Winelands. 

In a statement Delheim Estate in Stellenbosch said they were made aware on Sunday that the tourist had tested positive. 

"On Saturday, 7 March 2020 Delheim hosted a Dutch Tour Group (The Dutch Wijnacademie) from 12h00 until 16h00. This took part in our outside picnic area, with separate ablution facilities and no contact with other visitors on our farm. During this visit, 5 of our dedicated staff members were however in contact with the group.

"As this happened prior to our president’s travel ban announcement and many visitors from high-risk countries visit us daily, precautionary measures were taken on Monday, 9 March to reduce risks... Unfortunately on Sunday, 15 March, we were informed that some of the members of the Dutch group have now been tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. We immediately informed and briefed all staff, whilst implementing a two-week self-isolation period for the staff members who came in contact with these foreigners," the estate said.

"The five staff members have since been in contact with their doctors who advised them to only take precautionary self-isolation for now and to only be tested should they be showing signs of the virus. To date, all staff are healthy and showing no symptoms. 

"To take further precautions and to limit any potential exposure to infection – for both guests and staff – we can confirm that our hospitality sector of the business (restaurant, picnic area and wine tasting facilities) will be closed until 27 March whereafter we will reassess the situation," Delheim management said.

Delheim said they were not under quarantine and that none of their staff members had tested positive for coronavirus.

According to the statement, the wine farm also alerted Wines of South Africa and the Stellenbosch Wine Routes of the situation "as many farms were visited by this Dutch group".

Tokara Wine and Olive Estate also in Stellenbosch also confirmed that the Dutch tour group had visited their venue and that one of the members of that group has since tested positive for the Covid-19 virus, and that two members of their marketing team and the restaurant staff on duty that evening were in contact with this group. As such, they have implemented self-isolation and testing for these staff members. 

Karl Lambour, general manager of Tokara who sat with the tourist for five hours told The South African: "He’s probably the patient zero of the Winelands. That tour covered the length and breadth of our wine-making region,” he said. “It’s devastating.”

Lambour has since joined several colleagues in self-quarantine. 

Nederburg Wine Estate in Paarl  and Vergelegen in Somerset West are also closed until further notice though they did not make mention of the Dutch group.

"As a tourist destination in the Cape Winelands, we have the responsibility to do what we can to stop the spread of coronavirus. This also means that upcoming events such as the screening of La La Land will unfortunately be cancelled,” Nederburg said. 

Vergelegen's CEO Wayne Coetzer said their main concern was the health and safety of their visitors, staff, and community.

"We are playing our part in helping to minimise the spread of this virus by limiting contact among groups of people. We are also escalating the already comprehensive cleaning and sanitising procedures in our visitor and production facilities,” said Coetzer.

To date South Africa has recorded 62 cases of Covid-19. 

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