Beach days and wine tastings: Tourism industry thrilled with easing of Covid-19 restrictions
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The hospitality industry can breathe a sigh of relief after President Cyril Ramaohosa eased many restrictions under adjusted level 3 on Monday night.
He said in his keynote address: "With the clear decline in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths, Cabinet has decided to steadily ease a number of restrictions under adjusted level 3."
Public places such as beaches, dams, rivers, parks and public swimming pools will be reopened subject to health protocols; and duty-free shops, registered wineries, wine farms, micro-breweries and micro-distilleries will be able to sell alcohol for off-site consumption during their normal licensed operating hours.
"These changes have been made possible by the significant reduction in Covid-19 hospital admissions across all provinces, reducing the pressure on beds and hospital personnel," he said.
FEDHASA has welcomed the decision. Rosemary Anderson, FEDHASA national chairperson, said the announcement was a relief to a hospitality sector which has borne the brunt of heightened restrictions aimed at curbing the spread of Covid-19.
“We are thrilled with the announcement that the restrictions are being eased. This paves the way for hospitality businesses to be able to operate in a financially viable environment.
“The lengthy curfew hours and the ban on alcohol, restriction on numbers and closing of major tourist attractions, including beaches, meant it was no longer feasible for many businesses to continue to trade. This has led to so many businesses in the hospitality industry closing during these additional restrictions,” she said.
She said the reopening of beaches bodes well for the accommodation and restaurant sectors in coastal areas.
She said the hospitality sector continues to operate with robust health and hygiene protocols to safeguard staff and guests. “We have worked incredibly hard to devise and institute these protocols. Our industry is committed to complying fully and properly with the Tourism Business Council of South Africa’s Travel Safe Eat Safe protocols.
“We urge our patrons and guests to help us remain open by adhering strictly to the protocols so that our businesses can continue operating and we can secure the jobs that the industry supports as well as hopefully regain jobs that have been lost.
“We are so delighted by our President’s announcement, as well as the update on the additional securing of vaccines. Our hospitality industry will not survive another lockdown. We need the vaccine programme to be rolled out throughout the country urgently,” concluded Anderson
Enver Duminy, CEO of Cape Town Tourism said the city welcomed the easing of restrictions by President Ramaphosa. "As a coastal city with some of the best beaches in the world, we are extremely delighted that locals and visitors can once again enjoy the waters of Cape Town.
“We are also relieved that the curfew times will once again be adjusted to allow for dinner trading within the restaurant space and that alcohol can once again be served and sold responsibly.
"We hope to see some significant movement in the tourism and hospitality space now that many restrictions have been lifted. We urge everyone to continue to play by the rules. Always wear your mask, sanitise regularly, be responsible while out and about and do not overindulge when it comes to drinking.
"Covid-19 is very much still our reality and we still need to do our utmost to flatten the curve and not put our families, our friends and our communities in unnecessary danger," he said.