MOSSEL BAY NEWS - Point High School has cancelled the Arthur Johnson Sport Week, owing to the Covid-19 regulations announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday, 15 March.
Meetings of 100 or more people and sport tours are not permitted.
The sport week was to take place from 20 to 25 March in Mossel Bay,
It is an annual highlight of the high school calendar, organised by Point and attracting dozens of schools and 1 500 to 2 000 competitors to Mossel Bay every year from throughout South Africa.
Point has also cancelled all its other sport and cultural tours.
Headmaster Adolf Gouws told the Mossel Bay Advertiser: "The impact is enormous for us as a school. We incorporated that money into our budget for this year. The sport week has never been cancelled before. The cancellation will have a huge impact on the hostel, school and town in general. Many learners arrive in town with their parents and stay all over town, in guesthouses and so forth." Accommodation used mainly by learners in the ATKV Hartenbos resort. Gouws said the ATKV had been extremely co-operative, giving back all the deposits.
The sport week is named after the late Arthur Johnson and his widow, Estelle, a full-time staffer at Point High School, organises the event each year.
She told the Mossel Bay Advertiser the cost for each learner was R2 500 which paid for five nights' accommodation, breakfast and supper, entertainment in the evenings, entry to matches and professional coaching from top sports people such as netball star Vanes-Mari Proudfoot and rugby legend Braam van Straaten.
Estelle said there were fewer children signed up for this year's sport week.
"People are taking strain financially. We had 1 400 to 1 500 children signed up. In other years we have had 2 000. The schools are extremely disappointed at the cancellation but they understand we had no choice in the matter."
Estelle said individual packs for each child had been put together and she spoke to the four to five months' preparation that went into the event.
"I am terribly sorry for all the accommodation establishments and all the roleplayers including the physiotherapists, ambulance people and all who put in leave to attend the event."
She said besides the ATKV being booked for the event, people had even booked as far afield as Great Brak and Little Brak for accommodation.
ATKV Hartenbos resort manager Mornay Beukes said: "They usually book the Carney Building, Oranjehof and the two-bedroom rondawels for the sport week. The other units are usually booked through other guests and most probably parents who come down with the learners."
On a positive note, Beukes said: "We have people phoning us, saying because the school holiday has been extended because of the Coronavirus, they want to book for longer, so on one hand you lose, on the other you score.
"There is no cancellation of travelling locally at present, so normal cancellation fees apply to other bookings. What we do now is we tell people to postpone their holiday until later in the year, so people don't lose their deposit.
Albert Wiffen, who owns a number of hotels and restaurants in Mossel Bay, said: "In terms of accommodation, we have had a few cancellations. There will be a large impact. We can't give figures. We usually get many group bookings for the sport week. The combined impact of the cancellation of the Buffalo Rally, KKNK and the Arthur Johnson Sport Week will be big."
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