Premier Alan Winde is currently representing the Western Cape Government at the national lekgotla, pushing for an easing of restrictions in the province. In an update shared to Facebook, Winde confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa has convened a President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) meeting for this weekend.

“While it is important that we do everything possible to save lives in this unprecedented pandemic, we also need to ensure that we save jobs. We will be arguing for an easing of restrictions in the Western Cape, using the differentiated approach,” he said in a statement.

Earlier in the week, Winde wrote to the president urging him to convene a special PCC meeting as soon as possible so that some restrictions in the province can be relaxed as a matter of urgency and help avoid an economic disaster in the Western Cape.

According to Winde, the latest alcohol ban is estimated to have cost the Western Cape economy R1-billion within the first two weeks and has impacted 1893 direct jobs in the retail sector and 905 induced and indirect jobs across the value chain resulting in 2798 jobs being compromised.

Nearly 30% of restaurants surveyed have closed temporarily or permanently, based on data from the Restaurant Association of South Africa.

Based on a tourism multiplier model that has been used in the Western Cape’s research for many years, the continued beach ban is costing the sector over R120-million per month. Some 12.8% of the annual eight million visitors indicate beach visits as their top activity.

Winde also notes that a month after the country was put back into lockdown Level 3, the province has seen a sustained decline in active cases, hospitalisations, the test positivity rate, oxygen usage as well as a decline in health care worker infections.

As a result, he is pushing for the following changes:

– The ban on beaches and other public spaces must be lifted in the province. Open spaces with good ventilation are safer and do not provide a high risk. Furthermore, the festive season is over, and people are back at work;

– The curfew be changed to 11pm to 4am. The current curfew makes it impossible for restaurants to provide a dinner service and this sector is buckling as a result;

– A closing time for 10pm for establishments, that will allow for staff to get home before curfew begins;

– Alcohol sales be permitted offsite from Monday to Thursday, and not permitted on the weekend;

– Alcohol sales be permitted at wine farms on the weekend, as this is the time when most visitors come to wine farms. Such sales are critical for the survival of wine tourism in the Western Cape; and

– Onsite alcohol consumption be allowed. If restaurants cannot sell alcohol with dinner service, they will not remain profitable and will be forced to close. This will result in many job losses.

Picture: Facebook/Premier Alan Winde

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