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Covid restrictions to damper festive season celebrations

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President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced festive season restrictions in response to a spike in Covid-19 infections

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WHILE public parks and beaches in the Northern Cape will remain open over the festive season holidays, Covid-19-related restrictions are set to damper celebrations.

Residents will not be able to ring in 2021 on the streets on New Year’s Eve due to the 11pm curfew, while no consumption of alcohol will be permitted in public spaces

President Cyril Ramaphosa introduced festive season restrictions in response to a spike in Covid-19 infections in the country earlier this week.

This includes a ban on the consumption of alcohol on beaches, at parks and public places, while large gatherings, festivals, live music and live performances will be prohibited.

No alcohol will be sold over the Christmas Day or New Year’s Day weekends as both days fall on a Friday. Liquor retailers may only trade from Monday to Thursday, from 10am until 6pm, until further notice.

The pleasure resorts in the Sol Plaatje municipal area will not allow day visitors over the festive season holidays, in line with the Disaster Management Act regulations for alert Level 1 of the Covid-19 lockdown, from December 1 until January 3.

Stay-over visitors will be permitted to sleepover at pleasure resorts and make use of the facilities, on condition that prior bookings are made.

A list of patrons who have booked accommodation will be kept and monitored, while the entrance to all resorts will be locked and controlled by the resort’s access controllers.

Visitors will also be required to wear identity tags to leave and enter the resorts and are also expected to strictly comply with the Covid-19 regulations.

Meanwhile, members of the public have been flocking to public parks in Kimberley to socialise and indicated that they would continue to frequent these venues over Christmas and New Year as there were no other alternative venues.

Sol Plaatje Municipality spokesperson Sello Matsie said that the number of people at public parks, at any particular time, would be limited to 250 people.

“If the number of people exceeds the maximum capacity the police will be called in to disperse large crowds. No public drinking will be allowed,” said Matsie.

“Visitors are required to observe the Covid-19 regulations including social distancing and wearing masks. They will also have to stick to the curfew that was set, where everyone has to be home before 11pm.”

Matsie reiterated that no festivals would be allowed.

He also pointed out that “residents are permitted to exercise at public parks.”