Jury out on closure of beaches in Nelson Mandela Bay

In November the city was heavily criticised for closing all beaches, including the Shark Rock pier, after some lifeguards tested positive for Covid-19
NO ENTRY: In November the city was heavily criticised for closing all beaches, including the Shark Rock pier, after some lifeguards tested positive for Covid-19
Image: FREDLIN ADRIAAN

No decision has been made on whether beaches in Nelson Mandela Bay will be closed.

Meanwhile, patrons continue flocking to beaches without masks and drinking alcohol at weekends.

But all open spaces have been closed effective immediately, according to Bay disaster management chair Shane Brown.

This comes as the government is expected to announce stricter Covid-19 regulations for the metro going into the festive season.

Among the recommendations by the national command council are that alcohol sales should once again be restricted to Monday to Thursday and the curfew should be between 10pm and 4am.

While the Bay continues to be the epicentre of Covid-19 in SA, no decisions have been made on restricting movement to and from the metro.

Addressing the media on Wednesday, acting mayor Thsonono Buyeye said one of the major concerns the city had was its 8,000 boys wanting to undergo traditional male circumcision.

“It is prohibited in the province at present, and there is a backlog of between 7,000 and 8,000 initiations.

While there are sufficient beds in hospitals, they remain understaffed and the department of health is concerned that should there be a breakout of Covid-19 in initiation schools there would be few people to take care of the boys.

“These are the issues that are being discussed and there was a strong proposal about postponing initiations this season but traditional leaders in the city objected to that,” Buyeye said.

“Traditional leaders are saying if initiations aren’t postponed elsewhere in the province, the boys will run away to other parts of the province and be initiated outside the metro.

“These are ongoing discussions.”

Brown said the metro would not approve events going forward and the city’s public open spaces were closed, effective immediately.

“There were 3,500 active cases over the last seven days and there have been 103 deaths,” he said.

“We have an issue with people not wanting to be placed in quarantine and this increases the spread of the virus.”

Environmental director Patrick Nodwele announced a programme where the metro would go out and check the quality of sanitisers in malls and retail outlets.

He said they suspected sanitisers used by businesses were not up to scratch and they would conduct laboratory tests to prove their theory.

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