GARDEN ROUTE NEWS - The Garden Route district now faces similar COVID-19 restrictions as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, which are meant to curb resurgence of the COVID-19 coronavirus.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday, 14 December 2020 that Cabinet took a decision to declare the Garden Route District municipal area as a Coronavirus hotspot with some additional restrictions.
Some restrictions are already in place while others will follow over the festive season, including the controversial closing of Garden Route beaches from 16 December until 3 January 2021.
Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), said: “The closure of beaches is a hard pill to swallow because we are a tourism destination and our economy is still struggling to recoup from the hard lockdown.”
An urgent Garden Route District Coordinating Forum (DCF) was called by Mayor Booysen this morning where he engaged with local municipal mayors, municipal managers, command centre cluster leads, and stakeholders from SANParks, Cape Nature, National Prosecuting Authority, Western Cape Government Health, South African Police Services (SAPS), Western Cape Government Department of Local Government etc. to discuss the consequences of the President’s announcement.
“Our plea and request/submission from this morning’s engagement and from the onset of the resurgence of COVID-19 in our region, has been for beaches in the Garden Route to remain open,” Ald. Booysen said.
Noon today, Alderman Booysen represented the Garden Route municipalities and presented the agreed submissions from this morning’s GRDM DCF engagement at a Provincial Coordinating Forum (PCF). The next step is for submissions to be communicated to the National Command Council, with the backing of the Western Cape Government. “One submission of particular importance to the Garden Route is for the Cabinet to relax the restrictions relating to the closure of beaches and to change it to the same restrictions faced by Kwazulu-Natal (KZN).” KZN beaches only have to be closed on 16, 25, 26 and 31 December 2020.
“I am adamant that we can still get through this if we avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, confined spaces and enclosed spaces. In addition, Garden Routers and tourists need to adhere to the golden rules of keeping safe and adhere to the new regulations. We agree wholeheartedly with the tightening of alcohol sales because it will lower the unnecessary alcohol-related trauma cases we often see at hospitals. We are hopeful that this resurgence will be over quickly,” Ald. Booysen concluded.
Below find an overview and impacts of the new regulations on the Garden Route.
ENFORCEMENT OF REGULATIONS
Drivers and operators of all public transport must ensure that passengers wear a mask. Similarly, managers and/or owners of buildings, places or premises (including retail stores), must ensure that those entering their premises wear a mask. Each employer must ensure that their employees wear a mask while at work. Please note that a person who contravenes these compliance measures are liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.
The curfew is the same as Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, which starts at 22:00 and ends by 04:00. Non-essential establishments, including restaurants, casinos, gyms and bars, etc. must close at 21:00 to allow sufficient time for employees and patrons to return to their residences. Please remain inside your residence during those five (5) hours, except for emergency-related matters. Essential workers will still be permitted to move around during those hours.
SALE OF ALCOHOL
The sale of alcohol will only be permitted from 10:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Thursday. No one is allowed to consume alcohol in a public space, including at a beach or a park.
No more than 100 people will be allowed to attend indoor events, while the limit for outdoor events will be 250 persons. In addition, the number of people in a venue may not exceed 50% of its capacity. All post-funeral gatherings remain prohibited.
All Garden Route beaches are closed from 16 December - 3 January 2021.
According to Garden Route District Municipality, these towns form part of the Garden Route District:
1. Bitou – Plettenberg Bay, Keurboomstrand, Kurland, Kwanokuthula, Nature’s Valley and Wittedrift.
2. George – George, Wilderness, Hoekwil, Glentana, Herolds Bay, Victoria Bay, Haarlem, Uniondale, Herold and Noll.
3. Hessequa – Albertinia, Still Bay, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Slangrivier and Witsand.
4. Kannaland – Calitzdorp, Zoar, Ladismith andVan Wyksdorp.
5. Knysna – Knysna, Sedgefield, Brenton, Buffels Bay, Krantzhoek and Rheenendal.
6. 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.
7. Greater Oudtshoorn – De Rust, Dysselsdorp, Oudtshoorn and Volmoed.
'We bring you the latest Garden Route news'