Garden Route public events halted, venues to close due to Covid-19 surge

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Events in the Garden Route will be prohibited until further notice, and public facilities and venues will be closed to the public.
Events in the Garden Route will be prohibited until further notice, and public facilities and venues will be closed to the public.
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  • Public events have been scrapped in parts of the Garden Route to prevent the spread of Covid-19 over the festive season.
  • In the George and Kannaland municipalities, public venues and sporting grounds have been closed.
  • The closures come after Western Cape Premier Alan Winde said large indoor events were contributing to the increase in Covid-19 cases.

Large public events will be scrapped in some parts of the Western Cape in an attempt to control surging Covid-19 figures.

Events in the Garden Route will be prohibited until further notice, and public facilities and venues will be closed to the public, said Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning Anton Bredell.

"The region is seeing increases in Covid-19 infections. In addition, there is an expectation of large numbers of visitors over the next few weeks, which further increases the risk of infection. This requires drastic action which we're not afraid to take."

The George municipality has closed all sports facilities and public venues. All events in George have been cancelled and venues are unavailable for events. The Kannaland municipality has followed suit and closed all facilities, including town halls.

Municipal guidelines for camping facilities and venues catering to holidaymakers are also being formulated and enforcement operations to ensure compliance at taverns, fuel stations on major routes and mass transportation hubs will continue.

"The Covid pandemic is not a sprint. It is a marathon. We are all in this marathon together and if we all work together, more of us will reach the end of this pandemic and certainly much sooner. If we don't work together in the coming weeks, we may see the situation get increasingly worse," said Bredell.

Indoor gatherings driving spread

The measures taken to reduce the spread of the virus in the Garden Route comes after statements by Western Cape Premier Alan Winde that indoor gatherings have been a driver of the resurgence in cases.

"Our surveillance teams have traced many cluster outbreaks to indoor gatherings of people, as the virus spreads quicker in confined spaces when there is poor ventilation. The number of people permitted to gather indoors, currently at 250, is too high and this needs to be reconsidered for specific hotspots where the virus is spreading faster," he said.

On Tuesday, Winde said the province would be considering targeted, local interventions to limit the spread of the virus, and that the provincial government was strongly against "any blunt instrument, like a lockdown being imposed" in the Western Cape. 

He added that a lockdown would further damage the economy and cause major job losses.

"We must first do everything possible, through our individual and collective action, to ensure the resurgence is rolled back and to prevent this tool from ever having to be used again," he said.

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