New lockdown rules: Cabinet approves changes to curfew, leisure travel

Business Insider SA
Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, tourism minister. Photo: Misheck Makora
  • Cabinet has decided to push back the national lockdown curfew to 22:00, from 21:00.
  • This is to accommodate peak serving time at restaurants.
  • Hotels and guest houses can now also host leisure travellers from within their own province.
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Tourism minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced on Thursday that cabinet has decided to push back the national curfew to 22:00, from 21:00.

This is to accommodate restaurants, which have had to cut their dinner services short under the current curfew.

Currently, restaurant staff need to be in their homes by 21:00. To allow time for travel, and to clean and close the restaurant, this effectively means that restaurants may have to start closing by 19:00. 

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"To comply with the current curfew regulation, restaurants are unable to serve dinner to their customers which means that they are unable to operate at peak time of their business day. In response to this challenge, cabinet has agreed to move the curfew to start at 22:00 to allow for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants. We believe that this change will go a long way towards increasing their revenue generation," Kubayi-Ngubane said.

The new curfew will take effect when new regulations are gazetted. 

But despite much lobbying, restaurants did not convince government to allow alcohol with meals - this remains prohibited.

Kubayi-Ngubane also said that leisure travel accommodation will be allowed within provinces. Currently, hotels, guest houses and lodges are only allowed to accommodate business travellers. Only two people per room – except for “nuclear families” (parents and their children) – will be allowed.

"Let me emphasise, it is only intra-provincial travel not inter-provincial travel. Individuals are still not permitted to travel between provinces for leisure purposes," she added.

READ | Presidency deletes announcement that leisure travel will be allowed, says it was an error

Short-term home rentals will remain banned, but Kubayi-Ngubane says government is in talks with Airbnb about this restriction.

Tour operators will also now be allowed to conduct guided tours in "open safari vehicles", under planned regulations.

The Department of Tourism says it has assisted 4,000 businesses (from 7,284 applications) from its R200 million Tourism Relief Fund. 

"We are encouraged by the many letters of appreciation from patriotic South Africans, black and white, who did not listen to the misleading noise that the relief was specifically for Black people. This ultimately confused and discouraged even those who qualified for the grant not to apply," says Kubayi-Ngubane.

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