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City views Festive Season through a COVID-19 lens

CITY OF CAPE TOWN

 

8 DECEMBER 2020

 

MEDIA RELEASE

 

City views Festive Season through a COVID-19 lens

 

The disaster regulations, combined with the current resurgence in the Western Cape, have made for a different approach to the traditional year-end policing and public safety measures. Read more below:

 

File photographs are available here: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/70eprd38hgc6r5b/AAA9XX8cxDTqyvuiWFTb6-f8a?dl=0

 

As Cape Town heads into its peak festive season, the City of Cape Town has activated its annual Festive Season Preparedness Plan to ensure a safe and enjoyable time for both residents and visitors.

 

An outline of the plan is available here: http://bit.do/fLHxG

 

Given the COVID-19 resurgence currently being experienced in the Western Cape, the plan has had to be augmented this year to account for the added health-related challenge.

 

City services have had some respite, as a result of the cancellation and/or postponement of major events like the Festive Lights Switch On and the annual Minstrels events.

 

The festive season will also start later this year, given that schools are closing only on 15 December.

 

However, due to the fact that both Christmas and New Year’s fall on weekends, and schools reopen quite late in 2021, this likely means extended periods of revelry and visits to the City’s beaches and public amenities.

 

‘The City’s services are ready for the festive season. We have fine-tuned our master plan over many years, with the help of external partners like the NSRI, SPCA and the SAPS. If the weather plays along, we will no doubt be extremely busy over the peak of the festive season. It is imperative that we keep COVID-19 and the risk of exposure top of mind in everything that we do this season. Boxing Day and New Year’s Day are of particular concern, as historically, these are massive beach days, and we advise the public to exploit the additional days available to them to enjoy a day out with their families,’ said the City’s Executive Director for Safety and Security, Richard Bosman.

 

Alcohol is a big concern over the festive season, particularly drinking and driving and also consuming alcohol on beaches and other public spaces.

 

The City’s Liquor Unit confiscated nearly 20 000 bottles (11 535,63 litres) of alcohol during the last summer season.

 

Since the resumption of alcohol sales in terms of the disaster regulations, the City’s enforcement services have seen a steady increase in alcohol related arrests on the roads.

 

‘We’ve mentioned before that alcohol-related trauma places an unnecessary burden on the health system, particularly now that we are needing those resources to combat the COVID-19 resurgence. It also places pressure on our limited enforcement resources who are stretched at the best of times. Add to this the enforcement of ongoing land invasion attempts, and it becomes clear that our staff and their fellow enforcement services are being put through the wringer. My appeal to the public is to stay on the side of right this festive season, and be part of the solution.

 

‘This applies not only to matters of law and order, but also compliance with the COVID-19 health protocols. Our Disaster Risk Management Centre reports increasing non-compliance in shopping malls and other economic hubs while out and about, doing their education and awareness outreaches. We have seen a steady increase in the number of multi-agency compliance operations at establishments around the city, from 69 in October to 85 in November. There is no doubt that the figure will be considerably higher in December. All of us know what is expected of us. Cape Town cannot afford to be declared a COVID-19 hotspot, and if we do not dramatically improve self-regulation, we will create the opportunity for national government to do it for us,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, Alderman JP Smith.

 

Another priority for the City is water safety, with the deployment of 340 seasonal beach lifeguards and 300 seasonal swimming pool lifeguards around the metropole.

 

Lifeguards undergo a rigorous vetting process, and each individual has to meet requirements outlined by Lifesaving South Africa.

 

In addition, the Social Development and Early Childhood Development Department will spearhead the Identikidz programme once more, with deployment at 16 beaches on priority days over the peak festive season.

 

‘The City invests a lot of resources into safety at beaches and swimming pools. We remind the public to adhere to the instructions of lifeguards, to only swim in designated areas, not to drink and swim, to keep an eye on their children at all times, and to be wary of rip currents.

 

‘This season, swimming pools are operating at reduced capacity, in line with COVID-19 protocols. We remind the public to be mindful of this, and to cooperate with staff while queueing at our facilities, or while enjoying the amenities. At the beach, too, please keep your distance and wear your mask when you’re not swimming,’ said Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Councillor Zahid Badroodien.

 

Various City departments will also continue participating in multi-agency compliance visits of establishments around the metropole, particularly restaurants, bars and pubs.

 

A compliance hotline has been set up where the public can report outbreak events or non-compliance by establishments. The number to call is 021 444 3582.

 

 

End

 

Issued by: Media Office, City of Cape Town

 

Media enquiries: Alderman JP Smith, Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 1311 or Cell: 083 675 3780, Email: jean-pierre.smith@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za)

 

Media enquiries: Councillor Zahid Badroodien, Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, City of Cape Town, Cell: 072 639 5773, Email: Zahid.Badroodien@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za

 

Media enquiries: Richard Bosman, Executive Director: Safety and Security, City of Cape Town, Tel: 021 400 3355 or Cell: 079 269 2239, Email: richardgavin.bosman@capetown.gov.za (please always copy media.account@capetown.gov.za)