Government moves curfew by an hour, allows intra-provincial leisure travel

Parkhurst restaurant owners, staff, patrons along 7th and 4th streets in Johannesburg, 22 July 2020, during the protest against the restrictions imposed by lockdown and the lack of deadline for restuarants affecting the livehoods of people. Restaurant owners, staff, patrons took to the streets to voice their anger. Picture: Nigel Sibanda

According to Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, these changes have been introduced as a way to ensure that the impact of the lockdown is minimised.

In order to not cripple the hospitality industry any further, the government has decided to revise a few of the lockdown rules regulating the industry. 

As such, the curfew has been moved by an hour to 10pm, leisure travel within one’s home province has been allowed and tour operators can now give tours as long as they follow the rules. The new rules are yet to be Gazetted however.

This is according to Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane who was speaking during a media briefing on the latest Covid-19 regulations governing the tourism sector under level 3.

“The reality of the Covid-19 pandemic and the fluctuating risk of the virus spread has dictated that we pace ourselves in our efforts to reopen the sector. However, we believe that so far, one step at a time, we are walking in the right direction,” said Kubayi-Ngubane.

“The impact of the pandemic has been devastating for the sector. Many businesses are at risk and many jobs have already been lost. However, we are doing everything we can to ensure that the impact is minimised,” she added before announcing the new changes as a result of suggestions made to Cabinet by the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC). 

Restaurants

Because a 9pm curfew interrupts the restaurant industry’s ability to serve dinner to their customers during peak hours, Cabinet has agreed to move the curfew to start at 10pm to allow for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants. 

“In response to this challenge, We believe that this change will go a long way towards increasing their revenue generation. The sale of alcohol remains prohibited.”

Accommodation for leisure

Cabinet has also agreed to ease the restrictions around leisure travel and once the new regulations are Gazetted, individuals will be permitted to leave their homes for leisure purposes within the province where they currently live. 

‘Let me emphasise, it is only intra-provincial travel not inter-provincial travel. Individuals are still not permitted to travel between provinces for leisure purposes,” explained the minister. 

As a result, accommodation facilities that are permitted to operate under level 3 are now permitted to operate for leisure intra-provincially subject to the following:

  • No more than two people per room except for a nuclear family (parents and their children).  
  • Establishments are already legally obliged to require and keep a copy of proof of identity.
  • Short-term home rental/sharing remain closed.

Tour operators

Under the new regulations, tour operators will now also be allowed to conduct guided tours in open safari vehicles subject to directions that include provision for both social distancing and maximum ventilation.

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