KZN hospitality industry implores government not to impose ‘rash’ restrictions over Easter
The Federated Hospitality Association of SA (Fedhasa) in KwaZulu-Natal has warned that possible travel restrictions and the curtailing or banning of alcohol sales over the Easter weekend would be detrimental to the tourism sector.
The Sunday Times reported that the government is toying with the idea of restricting or barring alcohol sales over Easter and banning interprovincial travel to limit the movement of people between provinces.
According to the report, these were among the options placed before the national coronavirus command council (NCCC).
President Cyril Ramaphosa will meet provincial premiers on Monday before deliberations will be taken to the cabinet for a final decision.
This comes as KwaZulu-Natal anticipates a much-needed bumper Easter season, with up to 80% hotel occupancy predicted.
Last week economic development and tourism MEC Ravi Pillay said the province had been bucking the trend of dismal bookings in the wake of Covid-19 restrictions and was experiencing a resurgence of interest and visitors.
Pillay said: “We are looking forward to the Easter season and July winter season. I am happy with the figures. We’re expecting about 80% bookings and we think that will be the start of a revival.”
On Monday, however, Fedhasa east coast chair Brett Tungay told TimesLIVE there was much concern in the industry about talk of restrictions.
“The industry in KwaZulu-Natal and the whole east coast is quite concerned about any potential lockdowns that might occur, including travel, alcohol and trading hour restrictions,” he said.
“The industry needs a good season. We’ve been denied any kind of good trading for more than a year.
“Many companies have gone into liquidation, many have closed and many jobs have been lost.
“The tourism industry is basically begging government not to put in any rash closures in over this season.
“The industry is implementing protocols and adhering to protocols for visitors to our resorts, attractions and hotels. It would be a pity to see restrictions come in at this late stage for the long weekend.
“Virtually everybody who I have spoken to is going to be full over this period and it will be much-needed relief for the industry.”
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