Byron Hartung's 2020 started off on a positive note. The month before he was promoted to a food and beverage managing position at a new lodge opening in the Eastern Cape.
"It was going well, we were getting the lodge ready, getting the staff needed," he recalled. "We had our first guests for new years', which was absolutely amazing."
While tourism traffic to the new lodge was still gaining momentum in early 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement in March that there would be a national lockdown to curb the spread of Covid-19 sounded the death knell for staff like Hartung.