Tour operators will also be allowed to conduct guided tours in open safari vehicles.
Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced on Thursday afternoon that leisure travel is allowed for intra-provincial travel, curfew will start at 10pm and tour operators will be allowed to conduct guided tours in open safari vehicles.
She said these changes will come into effect as soon as the new regulations were gazetted.
“Following discussions about the current risk levels, the national Coronavirus Command Council recommended to Cabinet for some restrictions to be eased to allow more tourism activities to reopen.
“Cabinet has agreed to ease the restrictions around leisure travel. Currently, individuals are not allowed to leave their homes for leisure purposes. After the release of the new regulations, individuals will be permitted to leave their homes for leisure purposes within the province where they currently live.
“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 said.
Short-term home rental/sharing remain closed.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the change will have implications for accommodation facilities that are permitted to operate under level 3.
“Accommodation establishments are now permitted to operate for leisure intra-provincially subject to not having more than two people per room except for a nuclear family (parents and their children). Establishments are already legally obliged to require and keep a copy of proof of identity,” she revealed.
As for tour operators, they will be allowed to conduct guided tours in an open safari vehicle under the new regulation. This is subject to directions, which includes provision for both social distancing and maximum ventilation.
In terms of restaurants, Cabinet has agreed to move the curfew to start at 10pm to allow for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants.
She said this change will go a long way towards increasing their revenue generation.
“In our recent discussions with the restaurant sector, two issues were raised with regards to current regulations. One was the crippling effect of the 9pm curfew to restaurant business operations and the second was the issue of alcohol sale.
“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,” she said.
Kubayi-Ngubane said the sale of alcohol remained prohibited.
She said weekly interaction with various stakeholders have helped the department to gather inputs from all stakeholders on how best to reopen the sector and support the recovery going forward.
“These interactions have also helped to share information regarding how our government is managing the pandemic. Going forward we will invite health practitioners who are advising government on how best to manage the pandemic to meet with our sector so that together as we strategise on the way forward, we are armed with all the necessary information.
“We have also agreed to formalise our working relationship with sector player through a formation of a task team that brings together a broad spectrum of private sector players and officials from the department to work towards reopening the sector and resolving other sector challenges,“ she concluded.