We are delighted that the State of Disaster has finally been lifted after 750 days of being in place, bringing an end to many of the rules that have burdened the hospitality sector, such as temperature checking and contact tracing, which have proven largely unscientific to stemming the spread of COVID.
We hope that our industry will receive certainty sooner rather than later with regards to hosting big events as the current restrictions of 50% mean that many of the international events we would host in South Africa would simply not be viable. For any medium- to long-term planning to take place and events business to be secured, we need certainty. This is an opportunity for us to position South Africa as a leading meetings, incentives, conferencing and events destination.
Further, we require the urgent removal of the PCR test requirement for unvaccinated children between the age of five and 12 years as this is damaging inbound family travel to South Africa as well as hindering South African families from travelling.
As we enter a new post-pandemic era, we have learnt the importance of meaningful engagement and hope that the Government sees the benefit thereof. We genuinely want to establish a partnership with Government to develop a plan on how to grow the tourism industry, market the destination and create thousands of new jobs – the tourism industry being a key potential driver of the economy and job creation.
Government also needs to realise that hospitality and tourism are being stymied by government policies, inefficiencies and red tape such as the slow processing of licences which directly impacts our ability to create jobs. The biggest obstacle to tourism creating new jobs is this.
- The restrictions that the President announced recently will remain in place for 30 days under regulations published recently
- Masks are still mandatory for indoor public spaces
- Gatherings are limited to 50% of a venue’s capacity provided attendees can show proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test
- Travellers to South Africa need proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test or will be required to have an antigen test and undergo a 10-day isolation if they test positive
- To read the president’s full address click here
- To download a copy of the Gazette published on the lifting of the National State of Disaster click here
- To view the current regulations click here.
Clarity on updated regulations
Just to help with any confusion regarding the Directions and Regulations that have been dispensed of and those that still remain, the following applies as of midnight on Monday night.
All of the Directions and Regulations published under the Disaster Management Act since March 2020 have fallen away including those published by the Minister of Tourismover the same period.
This includes the comprehensive Tourism Direction published back in June 2020 which provided for, amongst others:
- temperature taking
- recording of guests names
- restrictions on buffets etc
See sections 5 to 9 in the June 2020 Tourism Direction for all provisions that no longer apply.
However it is important to note that the provisions set out in the new regulations still apply and will do so for a period of one month. They provide for matters such as the compulsory wearing of masks indoors in public places, gatherings restricted to 1000 indoors and 2000 outdoors, 50% capacity of venues, partial re-opening of borders etc.