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Winelands is ‘safe, open and ready’ for tourists

On Thursday 3 September the Cape Winelands District Municipality (CWDM) officially launched the start of Tourism Month at the Het Gesticht Museum in Paarl with a simple yet effective message, “We are safe, we are open, we are ready!”

The Cape Winelands region has suffered tremendously since March in its bid to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The CWDM provided figures compiled by Wesgro, which indicate that approximately 60% of the 57,6% job losses in the district’s tourism industry, were those of women.

These statistics are according to a survey done in the Cape Winelands and not a prediction under Level 2 of South Africa’s risk-adjusted strategy.

The agriculture and business sectors are also pillars of economic strength in the Cape Winelands, also the worst hit by Covid-19.

Now that the virus has been contained, the CWDM and Drakenstein Municipality have urged both local and interprovincial tourists to explore all that the region has to offer.

Cape Winelands Mayor and keynote speaker Dr Helena von Schlicht has, however, warned the 50-odd guests to remain vigilant as a rapid rise in the infection rate could resurface if health protocols are not adhered to.

“We are still not out of the woods with the virus and it is now necessary for all of us to really learn and adapt to living with the virus,” she said. “A second and even a third outbreak is still a possibility, hence the fact that we all have to comply with strict Alert Level 2 regulations protecting our people, yet at the same time contributing to kick-start our economy.”

Drakenstein Mayor Conrad Poole told Paarl Post the economy was already struggling before the pandemic, and that it will take months before things return to normal.

“We used the Covid-19 space to ensure that facilities that attract tourist are in good condition so that when we get opportunities like this [under Level 2], we can welcome people within our area as well as visitors outside our borders to a municipal area that is ready to receive people.”

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