In our recent discussions with the restaurant sector, two issues were raised with regards to current regulations.
One was the crippling effect of the nine o’clock curfew to restaurant business operations and the second was the issue of alcohol sale.
To comply with the current curfew regulation, restaurants are unable to serve dinner to their customers which means that they are unable to operate at peak time of their business day.
In response to this challenge, Cabinet has agreed to move the curfew to start at 10pm to allow for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants. 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. Currently, individuals are not allowed to leave their homes for leisure purposes.
After the release of the new regulations, 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.
Accordingly, this change has implications for accommodation facilities that are permitted to operate under level 3.
Accommodation establishments 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, in the new regulations, will be allowed to conduct guided tours in open safari vehicles subject to directions and include provision for both social distancing and maximum ventilation.
These changes will come into effect as soon as the new regulations are gazetted.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19 pandemic with have been having regular interaction with various stakeholders.
These interactions, which are almost on a weekly basis, have helped us to gather inputs from all stakeholders on how best to reopen the sector and support the recovery going forward.
These interactions have also helped to share information regarding how our government is managing the pandemic. Going forward we will invite health practitioners who are advising government on how best to manage the pandemic to meet with our sector so that together we can strategise on the way forward and are armed with all the necessary information.
We have also agreed to formalise our working relationship with sector players through a formation of a task team that brings together a broad spectrum of private sector players and officials from the Department of Tourism to work towards reopening the sector and resolving other sector challenges.