On 30 May, the Minister of Tourism Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane addressed the media to explain how the tourism sector will be impacted as the country moves into the COVID-19 alert level three on Monday, 01 June.

Initially the risk-adjusted approach to relaxing lockdown through levels five to one saw tourism only beginning to reopen at level two, and largely level one. However, it is estimated that 600,000 jobs are at risk if the industry does not resume operations by September. To safeguard these jobs, the public and private sector have been working closely to find solutions for the tourism industry to de-risk and reopen as soon as possible. Steps taken to achieve this include the development of responsible health and safety protocols. (Learn more about the protocols here.)

Initially the risk-adjusted approach to relaxing lockdown through levels five to one saw tourism only beginning to reopen at level two, and largely level one.

Kubayi-Ngubane also noted that many tourism services support other economic sectors which are reopening in level three; “As some strategic sectors of the economy will need to operate during lockdown, such sectors will need tourism services, even before the sector is fully opened for leisure. This includes key elements that would facilitate travel of persons for permitted purposes.”

As a result, it has been decided that the following will be allowed during lockdown level three:

  • Restaurants for delivery or collection of food. Restaurants with liquor licences may sell alcohol only for takeout and delivery.
  • Professional services such as tourist guides, tour operators, travel agents and tourism information officers can resume operations.
  • Professional services including training of nature guides and other related services that can ensure safe distance.
  • Public and private game farms can open for self-drive excursions.
  • Hiking can be done in compliance with existing guidelines, and not in groups
  • Accommodation activities are allowed, excluding for leisure. Establishments will no longer require a letter from Minister of Tourism to operate. However they are required to ensure that they accommodate those in the permitted services and keep records for inspections by the department.
  • Hunting and gaming activities are also allowed.
The following economic activities will remain prohibited under level three:

  • Conferences, events, entertainment activities (such as festivals) are still not permitted. (Some conference venues are being used in the fight against the pandemic, for example as temporary hospitals and as distribution points of social relief measures, which is allowed.)
  • Casinos are not permitted.
  • Leisure travel is not permitted.
To read the full statement made by Kubayi-Ngubane, click here.

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