Covid-19 and Black Friday: Alan Winde pleads for caution to avoid 'super-spreader' events

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Western Cape Premier Alan Winde
Western Cape Premier Alan Winde
PHOTO: Jaco Marais
  • Western Cape Premier Alan Winde urged shoppers to buy online as much as possible ahead of Black Friday.
  • He called on retailers to ensure measures are in place to limit the risk of Covid-19 infection.
  • According to the province’s most recent statistics, the Western Cape has had 125 369 cases, of which 6 678 are active.

Ahead of Black Friday, Western Cape Premier Alan Winde has urged shoppers to buy online as much as possible, warning that, amid the Covid-19 pandemic, these consumer outings could become super-spreader events.

According to the province’s most recent statistics released on Tuesday, the Western Cape has had 125 369 cases, of which 6 678 are active.

In the last 24 hours, 654 new infections had been confirmed. A total of 114 145 people have recovered, while 4 546 have died.

Numbers released by the national health department confirm 772 252 cumulative cases, with 2 493 of them newly diagnosed.

Gauteng has the most cases with 30.2%, followed by the Western Cape with 16.4%.

Winde, in a statement, said while both businesses and consumers have had a "tough year" – and with sales like these bringing welcome trade and savings – Black Friday had become synonymous with large crowds and snaking queues.

He warned that we were still in a pandemic, urging that extreme caution be practised to avoid the spread of the virus.

'Correct safety measures'

The provincial economic development and tourism department has met with retailers and property groups managing major shopping centres to "stress the importance of having the correct safety measures in place".

"I would also like to personally appeal to retailers to do the right thing, and to ensure that measures are in place to limit the risk of Covid-19 infection," he said.

He continued:

This includes queue and crowd management, access control, and ensuring hand sanitisers are widely available and that masks are worn correctly, and at all times, by both staff and by customers.

"We also appeal to retailers to consider expanding the duration of sales, or their trading hours in order to better manage crowds."

Winde urged shoppers to buy online.

"If this is not possible, ensure your safety and the safety of those around you by wearing your mask and practising social distancing. Ensure that you regularly wash or sanitise your hands. If you do not feel well, do not go to the shops.

"We appeal to everyone to remember to avoid the 3 Cs: close contact, crowded spaces and confined spaces. No saving is worth the cost of your health, or the life of someone who may be in a risk group."

Vanessa Herbst, spokesperson of the Western Cape's biggest shopping centre, Canal Walk, on Wednesday said many retailers have this year extended the Black Friday sale, instead of the usual one-day sale.

She said the mall would have additional staff, including extra Covid-19 compliance officers on the ground to monitor that customers are following all regulations.

"We have met with the major stores and have urged all our retailers to ensure that all Covid measures are being adhered to in their stores," she said.

Tenants are responsible to make sure all regulations are being followed within their stores while the centre would make sure that protocols are in place during the Black Friday and Festive Season period, Herbst told News24.

"We do expect increased footfall and retail activity over the next couple of weeks before we head into our traditional festive season. From 15 December, we will be extending our trading hours until 22:00."

*This story has been updated.

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