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Eased Lockdown Restrictions Include Open Beaches

Eased Lockdown Restrictions Include Open Beaches

Premier of the Western Cape, Alan Winde, says he has written to the minister of health Dr Zweli Mkhize to request that some lockdown restrictions be eased in the province in an effort to save jobs. Winde said that the request was based on evidence and data, setting out the province’s current Covid-19 statistics, the fact that it has now exited its second wave peak, as well as details of health interventions.

“We also set out data on the economic and human cost of some of these restrictions, and how ultimately, they are costing jobs,” he said.

“From the outset, we said that we need to get the balance right in saving both lives and livelihoods, and that the restrictions announced now more than 21 days ago needed to be reviewed after 14 days, based on the evidence available.”

Changes that Winde has suggested includes:

  • Beaches should be opened. Winde said that open spaces with good ventilation are safer and they do not constitute a high risk. With the festive season over and people back at work, traffic on the beaches are also considerably less.
  • Curfew hours should be changed to 23h00 to 04h00 as the current curfew makes it impossible for restaurants to provide a dinner service.  Restaurants have to close early to allow for cleanup and enough time for staff members to get home.  Winde believes that establishments should be allowed to remain open until 22:00.
  • Alcohol sales should be permitted off-site from Monday to Thursday, but not permitted on the weekend.
  • Alcohol sales should be permitted at wine farms during weekends, as this is the time when most visitors come to wine farms.
  • On-site alcohol consumption should be allowed. Winde stated that if restaurants cannot sell alcohol with dinner service, they will not remain profitable and will be forced to close. This will result in many job losses.

In a media briefing Mkhize said that South Africa is beginning to see the benefits of its latest level 3 lockdown and its ability to manage a second surge in Covid-19 cases. Mkhize said that the first ‘green shoots’ are appearing and that the country appears to be nearing an ‘inflection point’ and plateau in Covid-19 cases. He however warned that a resurgence of cases could happen, especially with holidaymakers having returned to Gauteng.

“We are hoping that what we are seeing now is an indications that (cases) will start declining and we need to see next week whether there is any new impact from people coming back from the festive season.

“This is what we thought the real pressure could come from, but the adjusted level 3 restrictions have actually assisted a lot.”




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