Durban – The city is ready to welcome visitors for the first weekend under level 1 of the lockdown.
President Cyril Ramaphosa last week announced the easing of some of the lockdown regulations and the move to level 1 from last Monday. These included the opening of beaches, and entertainment events at 50% capacity and an increase to 100 people at funerals.
Night vigils were still prohibited and a maximum of 250 people was allowed for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor events.
The night club sector remained restricted during level 1 of the lockdown.
This weekend – a long weekend for some – it is expected that the city will be busier than it had been since the lockdown started in March.
Police Minister Bheki Cele warned law enforcement would remain on high alert and continue to monitor restrictions on the sale of alcohol.
Cele said the police would continue to enforce the evening curfew which was now in effect from midnight to 4am.
The City said yesterday it was ready to welcome visitors following the successful Re-Ignite Durban event which saw 16 buildings, tourism destinations and products light up simultaneously as an indication of the tourism sector’s state of readiness.
The Moses Mabhida Stadium, uShaka Marine World, Durban City Hall, Sugar Ray Xulu stadium, Inkosi Albert Luthuli International Convention Centre, Elangeni Hotel, Umhlanga Pier, Hilton Hotel, The Cube, Oyster Box Hotel, Ohlange and the Beverly Hills Hotel were some of the city’s places that were lit up on Wednesday evening to celebrate the move to level 1 and usher in summer.
The North Beach Tourism Information office, which will provide services, maps brochures and wi-fi access to tourists, was also launched.
eThekwini Municipality deputy mayor Belinda Scott reminded locals and visitors to rediscover South Africa’s warmest place.
“The lighting up of the buildings was an initiative to set the tone and send messages to locals that the tourism sector is ready to host again for business and leisure following a difficult lockdown period,” she said.
She said the Re-ignite Durban programme officially set the tone for the industry’s road to recovery and it was one of the City’s efforts to boost the sector by promoting it as an integral part of Ethekwini’s economic recovery plan.
“The more tourists that descend on the city means more business, which will result in an economic boost and job opportunities,” said Scott.
Economic Development and Tourism MEC Nomusa Dube-Ncube said KwaZulu-Natal was ready with strict health and hygiene protocols of Covid-19.