Municipal-related implications of Covid-19 for tourism and outdoor spaces

Municipal-related implications of Covid-19 applicable to tourism, tourism-related services, and recreational open spaces are as follows:

The Wilderness Tourism office will be closed from Monday 23 March 2020 as a precautionary measure to protect staff and visitors. The small office does not allow for social distancing and, as it receives regular visitors from around the world including high-risk countries, it has been decided to close until further notice.

Visitors can, however, still get local tourism information and do bookings for activities at The Booking Office in George Road (between Wilderness Mini Market and Blue Olive) from 8am-8pm, seven days a week.  Phone calls and emails to the Wilderness Tourism office will automatically be forwarded to the George Tourism office, who will continue to render tourism services for Wilderness, George and surrounding areas.

Tourism Manager Joan Shaw said George Municipality had to place safety first and, since the local extent of the disaster was yet unknown, it preferred to err on the side of caution. Contact George Tourism on 044 801 9296.

While beaches remain open for now, no gathering/crowding of more than 100 people is allowed, and general rules of hygiene as recommended by Covid-19 protocol must be applied. Toilets at beaches will for now remain open.

Municipal picnic and braai areas, including those at beaches, are closed for now.

On-consumption premises selling liquor such as bars, restaurants selling liquor, clubs and taverns may only be open from 9am to 6pm on weekdays and Saturdays and from 1pm on Sundays and public holidays – early closure at night to limit close contact situations. Places that sell alcoholic beverages may not accommodate more than 50 people at a time, provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with Covid-19 are adhered to.

Premises selling liquor which provide accommodation must implement measures to stop spread of Covid-19 provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with Covid-19 are adhered to.

No special or events liquor licenses may be considered for approval during the duration of the national state of disaster.

Off-consumption premises selling liquor must be closed from 6pm to 9am the next morning on weekdays and Saturdays and from 1pm on Sundays and public holidays.

Ms Shaw said the Tourism office was aware of the adverse effect Covid-19 and its precautions were having on the tourism industry. “All spheres of government are aware of the immense impact this has, especially since we are in the middle of what would have usually been our international season. George Tourism continues to highlight such losses to all relevant roleplayers in this National Disaster situation,” said Ms Shaw.

Charlotte Clarke

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