The move to level 1 restrictions requires all of us in the Western Cape to act responsibly to protect ourselves, our loved ones and fellow residents from becoming infected and possibly falling ill. Personal responsibility is paramount now in avoiding hospitalisations and saving lives.
Last night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced relaxations to a number of restrictions including reduced hours of curfew, broadened alcohol trading hours and changes to the restrictions around gatherings.
All of these changes require us to act with even greater responsibility. Covid-19 is still with us and we cannot rule out the possibility of a third wave. The responsibility rests with all of us – the Western Cape Government, residents and businesses – to ensure we save lives, and engage in safe economic activity which saves livelihoods.
As the Western Cape Government, we will closely monitor and track data as we have done throughout the pandemic, to pinpoint areas of concern. We have sophisticated tools at our disposal to do this, and we will use our hotspot strategy and our “bushfire” response to manage the pandemic at this time.
Residents and businesses are also encouraged to look at the dashboard regularly to keep abreast of covid trends in our province. It may be viewed here: https://coronavirus.
We will continue to administer those vaccines we have received as part of a clinical trial quickly and effectively. We will also keep our monitoring systems and infrastructure operational to manage a possible third wave.
During my engagement with the President and the PCC on Sunday, I lobbied for events, such as sports matches, to be allowed to go ahead with clear limitations and strict Covid-19 protocols in place.
Events with limited numbers, especially those held outdoors, are income generators for the province, and play an important role in community building at a time when people have not been able to spend time together.
Some gatherings have now been allowed and we must ensure that these do not become super spreader events. We can do this by adhering to the restrictions on the numbers of people allowed for indoor and outdoor events, and by taking all covid-19 personal safety precautions.
We will continue to work as hard as we have done throughout this pandemic to manage Covid-19 and save lives, but we cannot do it alone. It requires a deal between this government and our citizens.
I therefore appeal to residents to play their part by:
- Wearing your mask correctly, washing your hands regularly and keeping your distance.
- Avoiding crowds, confined spaces and close contact. We need to all be doing this whenever we are in public spaces, whether it be at work, in shopping centres, at restaurants or at the beach.
- Businesses, religious leaders and organisers must ensure their environment is safe for every person who enters their premises, and that they abide by the regulations and curfew.
- Drinking responsibly,
- Alcohol retailers must abide by the laws and regulations.
I thank everyone who has played their part over the past year to allow this province to move forward safely. Going forward, we must continue to do everything we can to minimize the impact of this virus on our families, our loved ones, our businesses and our economy.