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Festive season begs caution

With cases of Covid-19 in the Breede Valley and across the country rapidly ramping up, President Cyril Ramaphosa made it clear in his address to the nation that this could be the last Christmas for many South Africans if their behaviour does not change.

While such words may be hard to hear for many they are intended to underscore a harsh reality.

The President addressed the nation on Monday 14 December to announce stricter measures being imposed during this festive season, as the country was experiencing a second wave of Covid-19.

In the Breede Valley 4 152 cases of Covid-19 were reported, with 3 619 recoveries. This means the number of total active cases was 533. This is a cause for concern and a reminder to exercise caution.

According to Ramaphosa, given the rate at which new cases have grown over the last two weeks, there is every possibility that if the country does not act urgently, and the nation does not pull together, the second wave will be more severe than the first wave.

He said: “The next few weeks are going to be a great test of our determination and restraint. This period will require each of us to do things differently than in previous years, because this year is unlike any other we have lived through before. It will require us to give up some short-lived pleasures to protect ourselves and others, and to ensure that we can enjoy such times together in future years. I am convinced that if we each play our part, if we each follow the few basic precautions, then we can all have a joyful festive season – and, most importantly, we can all have a happy, healthy and prosperous new year.”

In his address he made the following remarks regarding lockdown regulations with immediate effect:. The Sarah Baartman district in the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route district will join the district of Nelson Mandela Bay in the Eastern Cape as a coronavirus hotspot.. Stricter enforcement of existing Level 1 lockdown restrictions will include that people in public buildings and using public transport wear masks.. Gatherings will be further restricted to 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events. The total number of people in a venue may not exceed 50% of the capacity of the venue.. All post-funeral gathering are prohibited across the country.. Ramaphosa says a differentiated approach will be used for the country’s beaches and public parks. In areas with high coronavirus cases beaches and parks will be closed from 16 December to 3 January – this will apply to all of the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route. Beaches will also be closed in KwaZulu-Natal on days which are seen as particularly busy. These include 16 December, 26 December, 31 December, 1 January, 2 January and 3 January. Beaches and public parks in the Western Cape and Northern Cape will remain open for now.. South Africa’s national curfew will be extended – from 23:00 to 04:00. This means non-essential establishments, such as restaurants, will have to close at 22:00 so staff and patrons can go home before curfew. This will be in full effect on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.. Alcohol – Sale of alcohol will be permitted only from 10:00 to 18:00, Monday to Thursday, at retail outlets. Wine farms can remain open and sell alcohol for off-site consumption as per their licence hours.

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