WESTERN Cape Finance and Economic Opportunities minister David Maynier on Monday released a statement to bemoan the impact of the most recent lockdown regulations.
“The tourism sector has been dealt a severe blow with the publishing of amended regulations for Alert Level 3 last night (July 12).
“While these regulations provide the clarity that I have been calling for on the opening of accommodation for leisure for travel within provinces, this decision, and the prior confusion caused by the presidency and the minister of Tourism, has sent an industry that is already hard hit by Covid-19 into a state of turmoil,” said Maynier.
The tourism sector is facing significant job losses of almost 50%. Making the situation worse is that many accommodation establishments had celebrated the original changes to Level 3, opening up and accepting guests, but must now close again.
This unexplained change will cause further economic hardship for many businesses and will likely cause further job losses.
“The tourism sector has been subject to flip flopping, uncertainty and ultimately a decision made with no explanation as to why accommodation for leisure for travel within provinces is not allowed. This is completely unjustifiable considering the lengths that the industry has gone to in order to put in place the necessary safety measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.
“In fact, if Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane is comfortable that health and safety measures can be implemented for accommodation for business travel to open, then why can accommodation for leisure not be opened?
“And if the public can visit a casino, cinema or restaurant, why can a family not travel to a self-catering accommodation unit for a weekend away?”
Maynier said he would be writing to both Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Kubayi-Ngubane to request that they urgently reconsider this decision.
“There are not only lives at stake as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, but also many livelihoods. The tourism sector in the Western Cape provides thousands of jobs that put food on the table for many South African families, especially those in rural communities.
“The president’s speech made no mention of how these families would be supported if their livelihoods were taken away. In the absence of a plan, the tourism sector must be allowed to open safely and responsibly,” Maynier concluded.