Close

South Africa will move to lockdown Level 1 from Monday, 21 September 2020, which means the rules around hosting public gatherings are set to relax – slightly.

President Cyril Ramaphosa’s addressed the nation on Wednesday night, 16 September 2020, to outline the adjusted regulations that will be in place under lockdown Level 1. Most notably, larger events are now possible:

  • A maximum of 250 people may gather indoors
  • A maximum of 500 people may gather outdoors
  • However, both of the above are only allowed if the venue is operating at 50% capacity in order to support social distancing

As well as maintaining social distancing, masks must still be worn in public and good hygiene must be practiced.

Other changes include relaxing the curfew (which will now run from 00h00-04h00), permitting the sale of alcohol from Monday to Friday (09h00-17h00), and allowing the onsite consumption of alcohol at licensed establishments in-line with the curfew.

Glenton de Kock, SAACI CEO

We are still conscious that the road to recovery will require significant support to rebuild and renew in the coming months.

The Southern African Association for the Conference Industry (SAACI) welcomed the announcement, noting that business event stakeholders have seen their livelihoods lost or threatened because of the COVID-19 lockdown.

He adds; “While this news will come as a great relief to the entire business events industry, we are still conscious that the road to recovery will require significant support to rebuild and renew in the coming months. We will continue our engagement with government to look at practical ways to ensure that our sector supports South Africa’s overall recovery over the years to come.”

“The road ahead will not be easy but we can now plan for the recovery of the hospitality and conferencing segments of our business.”

Graham Wood, Group COO Hospitality: Sun International

Graham Wood, Group COO Hospitality: Sun International, says, “The move to level 1 lockdown restrictions is a relief, especially relaxing the curfew, permitting leisure facilities to allow 50% of capacity, and allowing larger gatherings. This means our entertainment and conferencing facilities can begin to operate again.

“Our casinos have been trading since July but the news that international borders will be gradually opened from 1 October is encouraging, as this gives greater clarity to the industry. The road ahead will not be easy but we can now plan for the recovery of the hospitality and conferencing segments of our business. This is especially important for our key properties such as The Palace, Sun City, The Table Bay Hotel, The Maslow Sandton, the Wild Coast Sun and The Boardwalk.”

He added that the company’s COVID-19 health and safety protocols are now firmly embedded in all operational procedures, to protect both their customers and staff.

According to the SA Events Council, the MICE industry contributed 11.4% of foreign tourism in 2019.

International air travel is also set to resume from 01 October, which is another welcome milestone for events that attract an international audience.

READ: International travel to gradually resume from October

According to the SA Events Council, a coalition of 13 event industry associations, the Meetings, Incentives, Conference, Exhibitions (MICE) industry contributed 11.4% of foreign tourism in 2019.

Tes Proos, SA Events Council Chairperson

Tes Proos, SA Events Council Chairperson, says, “That same year, South Africa hosted 103 international association meetings and a total of 39,579 international delegates culminating in an estimated economic impact of international association meetings of R905 million for the year.”

Since President Ramaphosa announced the shut down in March, 100% of exhibitions and events have been postponed from 2020 to 2021 and even 2022. This represents R68 billion of lost economic impact for the country.

She adds that exhibitions contribute a further R24 million to business tourism and R40 billion in business deals concluded at trade shows, and directly support 35,000 jobs.

Since President Ramaphosa announced the shut down in March, 100% of exhibitions and events have been postponed from 2020 to 2021 and even 2022. This represents R68 billion of lost economic impact for the country.

READ: Mixed feelings for level 1 from the live events sector