After being declared a coronavirus hotspot, the Garden Route is not taking the closure of its beaches lying down.
The Garden Route District Coordinating Forum will now lobby national government and the National Coronavirus Command Council to allow beaches in the area to reopen and only close on the same days as those in KwaZulu-Natal, which are 16, 25, 26 and 31 December, as well as from 1 to 3 January.
National government is also facing potential court challenges to the new hotspot regulations.
In a statement on Mossel Bay’s official Facebook page on Tuesday, Mossel Bay mayor Harry Levendal, made it clear that the town was still ready to welcome visitors.
“Mossel Bay is open for business, the municipality supports local economic development and, therefore, invites visitors to enjoy the many affordable attractions, including the numerous hiking trails in the unspoiled nature and along the coastal walks,” Levendal said.
“Also, many of the activities in the bay, including surfing, are not taboo.
“Estuaries, lagoons, quays, launch sites, and open coastal waters are still accessible. With beautiful rivers in the greater Mossel Bay, the youngsters can still frolic in the river’s water and even build sandcastles on the river banks.”
Garden route infections
The Garden Route District Municipality has called for urgent behavioural change and for a strict adherence to health protocols after being declared a hotspot.
As of 15 December, South Africa had approximately 85,000 active Covid-19 infections according to official government’s figures.
The Garden Route accounts for 5,292 of these cases and has had just over 22,000 of the 873,679 infections since the outbreak started.
During his previous address to the nation on 3 December, President Cyril Ramaphosa explained that a number of factors are used to identify and classify an area as a hotspot.
This includes the number of new Covid-19 cases per day, the testing rate within the population, the percentage positivity rate within the population, the number of active cases, the number of hospital admissions and the number of deaths.
Towns that form part of the Garden Route District are:
- Bitou – Plettenberg Bay, Keurboomstrand, Kurland, Kranshoek, Kwanokuthula, Nature’s Valley and Wittedrift.
- George – George, Wilderness, Hoekwil, Glentana, Herolds Bay, Victoria Bay, Haarlem, Uniondale, Herold and Noll.
- Hessequa – Albertinia, Still Bay, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Slangrivier, Jongensfontein, Blombos, Gouritsmond, Puntjie, Witsand, etc.
- Kannaland – Calitzdorp, Zoar, Ladismith and Van Wyksdorp.
- Knysna – Knysna, Sedgefield, Brenton, Buffels Bay, and Rheenendal.
- Mossel Bay – Boggoms Bay, Brandwag, Buisplaas, Dana Bay, Glentana, Fraaiuitsig, Friemersheim, Great Brak River, Hartenbos, Herbertsdale, Hersham, KwaNonqaba, Little Brak River, Outeniqua Beach, Reebok, Ruiterbos, Southern Cross, Tergniet and Vleesbaai.
- Greater Oudtshoorn – De Rust, Dysselsdorp, Oudtshoorn and Volmoed.