On Tuesday, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced that the cabinet has decided to extend the national curfew from 21:00 to 22:00.
This decision was made to accommodate restaurants, who have had to cut their dinner services shorter under the current 21:00 curfew.
To ensure staff adheres to lockdown regulations, restaurants effectively had to close at 19:00 to allow time to clean and close shop as well as time for travel.
Kubayi-Ngubane said, “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 the peak time of their business day. In response to this challenge, the cabinet has agreed to move the curfew to start at 22:00 allowing for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants. We believe that this change will go a long way towards increasing their revenue generation,”.
However, despite much lobbying, restaurants could not convince the government to allow alcohol with meals, this still remains prohibited.
The new curfew will take effect once new regulations are gazetted.
Kubayi-Ngubane also announced that leisure travel and accommodation will be allowed within provinces.
“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.
Short-term home rentals will still remain banned, but Kubayi-Ngubane did say that government is in talks with Airbnb regarding this restriction.
As it stands, hotels, guest houses and lodges are only allowed to accommodate business travellers.
Tour operators will also be allowed to conduct guided tours in “open safari vehicles”, under planned regulations.
The Department of Tourism said they have assisted 4,000 businesses (from 7,284 applications) with 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.
All changes will be implemented when the new regulations are gazetted.