Those eager to have a change of scenery at a hotel, lodge or guesthouse will have to wait a bit longer. Government has retracted its position on overnight stays for leisure travel, saying that it is still not permitted under Level 3.
There has been much confusion over whether or not leisure travel is allowed under Level 3. President Ramaphosa announced during his national address on June 17 that leisure tourism would reopen. Following his announcement, the government gazette published on June 25 further states that “a person may leave his or her place of residence to travel for leisure purposes as allowed under Alert Level 3”. On June 26, however, Minister of Tourism, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane said that it is not permitted.
On July 10, government published a infographic confirming that leisure travel and stay at accommodation is allowed under lockdown Level 3 as long as residents stay within their respective provinces. On July 11, however, the Presidency said that this announcement had an error and that it is not currently permitted.
“Here are the activities that are now allowed at Level 3. We picked up an error in the previous graphic which suggested that accommodation for leisure travel was permitted. This is not the case,” the Presidency wrote in a tweet.
Here are the activities that are now allowed at Level 3. We picked up an error in the previous graphic which suggested that accommodation for leisure travel was permitted. This is not the case. See this statement for more information: https://t.co/hQnwYUNN6s #StaySafe pic.twitter.com/7t4Q7vxCKl
— Presidency | South Africa 🇿🇦 (@PresidencyZA) July 11, 2020
While the other guidelines remain unchanged, the new graphic states that accommodation establishments may only accept guests for essential work purposes. Private homes offering paid leisure accommodation such as Airbnb rentals are also still not permitted to accept guests, even for business travel.
Here is the new graphic detailing what is permitted under Level 3:
“The Tourism private sector has sought high-level legal opinion and is investigating options. The COGTA regulations have not been changed and those do not ban intra-provincial travel for leisure. Until these have been updated, that is what will continue to guide industry,” said Natalia Rosa from South Africa is Travel Ready, a PR and Communications collaboration of influential agencies in the tourism and hospitality space.