Closure of Garden Route beaches will be 'devastating' to Western Cape economy - Winde

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde
Jaco Marais
  • Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the closure of Garden Route beaches should be reconsidered, as it will be a "devastating blow" to the region's economy.
  • Winde says this is especially because beaches are outdoors, where there is good ventilation.
  • The Western Cape will be making further submissions to the national government as they don't believe the right balance has been achieved in this case.

Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said the closure of Garden Route beaches should be reconsidered, as it would be a "devastating blow" to the region's economy.

On Tuesday, Winde welcomed President Cyril Ramaphosa's differentiated approach of the new regulations in different metros - however, he said the decision to close Garden Route beaches for the entire festive season would be a devastating blow to the economy and needed to be reconsidered.

"My top priority in the numerous consultations with the national government has been to ensure that we get the balance right between rolling back this resurgence and saving lives, while keeping the economy as open as possible, also saving livelihoods," said Winde.

"While I also welcome that a differentiated approach was adopted for most of the Western Cape's beaches, the decision to close the Garden Route's beaches for the entire festive season will deal a devastating blow to that district's economy which is highly reliant on tourism for survival."

He said that during consultations, they requested that beaches in the Western Cape should remain open, provided proper steps could be taken to ensure health and safety guidelines were followed so that those who attended could do so safely.

"This is especially because they are outdoors where there is good ventilation - precisely the places we have been advising our residents to visit this festive season," Winde added.

On Monday, Ramaphosa announced that all beaches in the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and those along the Garden Route would be closed during the festive season on certain busy days.

READ | 'Irrational' to close beaches - opposition parties lash out at restrictions

Winde said their submissions included making an exception for tastings and sales at wine farms over the weekend, as this was critical to the survival of the wine tourism economy which employed thousands of people in rural communities.  

The Western Cape would be making further submissions to national government as they felt the right balance had not been achieved in this instance and that intervention needed to be reconsidered. 

"In the meantime, we must all remember that the best defence we have against Covid-19, and the most effective tool we have to save both lives and livelihoods, is our own behaviour," Winde said.

"If we all take action right now and change the way we live for the rest of the festive season, we can prevent many infections, protect our healthcare system, save lives and keep our economy open."

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