The easing of restrictions, as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa last night (September 12), will provide some relief to tourism and hospitality businesses but more is needed, according to hospitality and political leaders.
Mayoral Committee Member for Economic Opportunities and Tourism in Cape Town, James Vos, has called on Government to do away with the curfews and allow hospitality businesses to trade in full.
“While these extra trading hours will provide some relief to tourism and hospitality workers, I fear that it might not be enough. Liquor stores should go back to daily sales while event venues should be allowed to welcome as many people as their sites allow,” he said.
Vos pointed out that few, if any, sectors had been as affected by these lockdowns as tourism and hospitality. “In fact, hundreds of thousands of people across industries have had their livelihoods ripped away by the pandemic and resulting lockdowns. And now that the vaccines are widely available to all adults in South Africa, it is urgent that National Government focus on revitalising the economy and helping our small businesses get back on their feet.”
The peak visitor season was just weeks away, said Vos. “By dropping all curfews, we will show the world that we are ready to welcome back travellers and that we are a safe and healthy destination worth visiting.”
FEDHASA Chair, Rosemary Anderson, while welcoming the announcement, also called for reassurances that there would be no further shut-downs and restrictions so that South African and international travellers could book flights and accommodation ahead with confidence.
“Confidence in the Government’s pathway is vital to the hospitality industry’s recovery,” she said, reiterating earlier statements that in the more than 18 months of restrictions to curb the spread of COVID, the hospitality sector continued to bear the brunt of curfews, liquor bans and limits on sizes of gatherings.
“There are not many businesses that would be able to continue to survive with their operations so severely curtailed,” Anderson commented.