The Western Cape High Court have ruled in favour of keeping the Garden Route beaches closed for the festive season. This comes after the Democratic Alliance (DA) challenged the ruling and approached the court to have them reopened.

This serves as a blow to the local tourism industries over what have historically been the busiest weeks of the year.

Beach operating hours, however, have been changed and will now be open from 6am to 7pm in areas where beaches are allowed to be open. Previously, operating hours were between 9am and 6pm.

In a statement, DA leader John Steenhuisen said: “While we are disappointed by the ruling in favour of beach closures, we welcome the amended hours of beach operation which we have managed to get changed from 9am to 6pm, to 6am to 7pm.

“We also welcome the court’s awarding of 50% of our costs as per the ruling. The DA is still deeply concerned that the blanket closure of the Garden Route’s beaches over the festive season will have far-reaching and devastating consequences for local economies, and for the livelihoods which depend on seasonal tourism during this time.

“While we respect the judgement, we understand that this ruling remains a devastating blow to the thousands of small businesses along the Garden Route which are now at serious risk of collapse. This problem will not go away once South Africa emerges from the coronavirus pandemic, and we cannot ignore the risk to livelihoods which many lockdown restrictions present.

“The DA will continue to act in both the interests of the lives and livelihoods of South Africans during the coronavirus pandemic to ensure that we keep citizens safe, and that we still have an economy left once the dust has settled.”

Picture: Cape Town Etc Gallery

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