- Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane has announced a number of changes to the current lockdown regulations
- From curfew times changing to issues affecting the tourism industry, the minister updated the nation on the adjustments
- These changes come as the industry buckles under the pressure of restrictions limiting how business is done
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane confirmed on Thursday that Cabinet has extended the national lockdown curfew to 10pm.
Speaking during a press briefing, the minister explained that this is an effort to accommodate restaurants, which have been forced to cut dinner shifts short due to the time constraints.
Kubayi-Ngubane explained that the industry had been missing out on peak business times:
"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 22:00 to allow for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants. We believe that this change will go a long way towards increasing their revenue generation."
The curfew will kick in as soon as the latest regulations are gazetted. While the industry scored this small victory, the alcohol ban remains firmly in place.
In addition to the new curfew, the minister announced that leisure travel accommodation is now permitted within provinces:
"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."
Kubayi-Ngubane says that the government is in negotiations with short-term home rentals like Airbnb over the current ban, which also remains in place.
Tour operators are now permitted to conduct guided tours in line with regulations in 'open safari vehicles'.
Earlier, Briefly.co.za reported that Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma promised that the government will re-evaluate the alcohol ban on a regular basis. The Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister says that the state wants to limit the impact on the economy and jobs during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The minister filed the government's reasons for the return of the ban in response to legal action taken by wine farmers.
Dlamini-Zuma had denied any intention of prolonging the ban in court papers:
"It is contemplated that the suspension of the sale of liquor will be re-evaluated with regularity as government aims to also limit hardships facing the economy and individual livelihoods during this period.
"There is no desire on the part of government to leave this prohibition in place for longer that it is regarded necessary," she told the court.
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