Category: <span>Covid-19</span>

Vehicle control points continue as Covid-19 infections stabilise

13 January 2021
News Release
For immediate release

Vehicle control points continue as Covid-19 infections stabilise

Various approaches to flatten the curve of infections and mitigate the virus from spreading had to be adopted over the festive season. One of the many measures identify and taken in the Garden Route district has been to enhance law enforcement by Provincial and Municipal Traffic Officials. This was done through the roll-out of Vehicle Control Points (VCPs) and roadblocks to motivate and educate travellers and residents about the virus.

During these engagements, Traffic Officials are responsible for law enforcement whilst Environmental Health Practitioners (EHP) of the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) use the opportunity to educate and motivating motorist; distribute Covid-19 pamphlets and verbally giving advice and information to prevent people from getting sick.

The information-sharing points include the following topics:

–      The importance of good ventilation;

–      The correct way of wearing a mask;

–      Proper handwashing techniques;

–      Social distancing; and

–      Sanitising and to congregate outside rather than indoors.

Roadblocks are held at all hours of the day, on public holidays and at different places in the district.  Hats-off to all the role-players in the Garden Route district who selflessly commit their energy and time to curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Let’s continue to support our tourism industry COVID-19 and beyond

News Release: Let’s continue to support our tourism industry COVID-19 and beyond

For Immediate Release
8 January 2021

Feature image: Elethu Booysen, wife of Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality, was treated on a trip by her husband out at sea for her birthday today, 8 January 2021.

We can all attest that the National Lockdown has kept us all more indoors than ever before. With the gradual opening of the Tourism sector, we finally had the chance to slowly dip our toes in the sparkling ocean experiencing the fresh, crisp and clean air inhaling the perfume of fynbos. Then, just as we were approaching the holiday season and visitors were gearing themselves to travel to the Garden Route our beaches were closed and the tourism sector faced yet another blow.

While reflecting on the Tourism Sector and its resilience, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen said,  “Our beaches might have been closed since 15 December 2020 to January 2020 the Garden Route continued to offer a countless number of experiences. Holiday makers still flocked from all corners of South Africa to our beautiful and diverse region to experience its offerings. From scenic drives, delectable locally produced cuisine and washing it down with award winning wine, craft beer and indigenous fynbos gin before the country’s move to alert level three where we saw the closing of the alcohol industry, to blood pumping adrenaline rushing adventures, world class golfing”.

The Garden Route and Klein continues to offer a multitude of outdoor adventures and is truly so much more than just its beaches.

GRDM and its Regional Tourism Office, Garden Route and Klein Karoo Tourism, would like to thank all the tourism stakeholders in the region for their vigorous and continuous work in ensuring that the region remains the tourism destination of choice. This year has shown that we truly are a region who perseveres through the toughest times. To the visitors, we wish to thank you for your support by visiting our region while we’ve been classified as a COVID-19 hotspot.

Thank you to everyone who continues to comply to the “new norms” we are required to adhere to.

While it’s still summer, and schools are still closed, be sure to expect plenty of sunshine – here is what you can still experience in the Garden Route under the risk adjusted level 3 restrictions:

  • Golfing at one of South Africa’s top golf courses
  • Kayaking/kloofing/canoeing
  • Bungee jumping/ziplining
  • Paragliding
  • Hiking/biking
  • Historical caves
  • Horse riding
  • Big 5 and nature drives
  • Get lost in our Indigenous forests
  • Coffee culture
  • Enjoy some much needed “R&R” and pamper time at a spa.

We wish you all a healthy and safe 2021. Let’s continue to curb the spread of COVID-19 by remembering to practice social distancing, washing our hands, sanitising and wearing of masks. Lastly, remember to avoid crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces.

Stay safe, move forward.

 

ENDS

SANDF to arrive in the Garden Route tomorrow, 8 January 2021

Media Release: SANDF to arrive in the Garden Route tomorrow, 8 January 2021

For Immediate Release
7 January 2021

Members of the South African National Defence (SANDF) force will arrive in the Garden Route tomorrow, 8 January 2021 to assist the South African Police (SAPS) to ensure that communities comply with regulations. Police Minister Bheki Cele yesterday visited the Garden Route and confirmed the SANDF’s arrival in the Garden Route.

According to Mr Otto, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Manager: Disaster Management, SANDF and SAPS will meet to discuss particulars about their deployment. Mr Otto said, “This intervention comes at a time when more than 350 members of SAPS are in isolation and close to 800 SAPS member in quarantine. Those in quarantine were in close contact with others who tested positive for COVID-19”.

A total number of 40 SANDF members are expected and they will be housed in Hartenbos and Sedgefield. Mr Otto said that he can’t confirm exactly what areas SANDF will patrol, but he suspects that it will change as time goes by and intelligence is received about areas of non-compliance. “It is important for the public to ensure that they comply with the lockdown regulations, or else they could end up with criminal records,” Otto concluded.

Picture: GCIS

ENDS

 VISITS TO GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT MUNICIPAL OFFICES LIMITED

Media Statement:  VISITS TO GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT MUNICIPAL OFFICES LIMITED
For Immediate Release
7 January 2021

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) Executive Management today agreed to limit public visits to all its offices in the region. Simultaneously, a maximum of 50% of the GRDM employ will work from its municipal offices, while those who are able to work remotely will do so until 15 January 2021. Essential services will continue as per usual and include the GRDM Council, Emergency Call Centre, Fire Fighting Services, Disaster Management, Municipal Health and Communication Services.

Members of the public are therefore required to make prior-arrangements to visit any GRDM office.

HEAD OFFICE

  • GRDM George Head Office: 044 803 1300, 54 York Street, George, 6529.
  • GRDM Emergency Call Centre: 044 805 5071 (24/7)

SUB OFFICES

  • Knysna, 044 382 7214, 24A Queen Street, Knysna, 6570
  • Mossel Bay, 044 693 0006, C/O Marlin & Samson street, Extension 23, Mossel Bay, 6506
  • Plettenberg Bay, 044 5011600, 4 Virginia Street, Plettenberg Bay, 6600
  • Oudtshoorn, 044 272 2241, 15 Regent Street, Oudtshoorn, 6620
  • Riversdale, 028 713 2438, 24 Mitchell Street, Riversdale, 6670
  • Roads Services, 044 803 1500, Mission Street, George Industria, George, 6529
  • Community Services, 044 803 1522, Mission Street, George, 6529
  • Fire Services, 044 805 5071, 17 Pioneer Road, Pacaltsdorp Industria, George, 6529

ENDS

 

PUBLIC NOTICE – FISHING ALLOWED

01 January 2020

PUBLIC NOTICE – FISHING ALLOWED

Dear Garden Routers and holidaymakers, please note that after consultation with Brigadier Van Graan, the following rule regarding fishing in hotspot areas will be in effect from today, 01 January 2021.

In terms of the National Crime Combating Forum (NCCF) supplementary instruction 24 paragraph 8.4.111, fishing on beaches will only be allowed for those who are in possession of a fishing permit.  Fishing will only be allowed from 06:00 till 19:00.

No other activities will be allowed on beaches until further notice.

For any enquiries, please contact your local police station.

ACTIONS TO STOP CORONAVIRUS FROM SPREADING IN THE GARDEN ROUTE

MEDIA STATEMENT:  GARDEN ROUTE DISTRICT MUNICIPALITY

31 December 2020

ACTIONS TO STOP CORONAVIRUS FROM SPREADING IN THE GARDEN ROUTE

The Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) and various local municipalities in the district are continuously working together to comply and adhere to the latest regulations.

As the GRDM, we remind the public that we are aiming and committed to combat the spread of the coronavirus.  All Executive Mayors, Municipal Managers, senior management, sector departments, including the Department of Health, the South African Police Service (SAPS) and other law enforcement agencies, led by the GRDM Coronavirus Command Centre are continually in discussions seeking co-operation strategies and ways to slow down and curb the spread of the Covid-19 virus.

Local Municipalities’ Law Enforcement Officers will continue to enforce municipal by-laws strictly, while the SAPS and security agencies will enforce their mandate concerning the application of the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations.

Garden Routers and visitors are reminded that non-compliance to the latest regulations makes such actions punishable by law or a criminal offence. In addition, it is now a punishable offence if an individual does not correctly wear a face mask in public or adhere to the curfew rules.

The South African National Defence Force (SANDF) will be deployed to areas of the Garden Route from Wednesday, 06 January 2021, to assist law enforcement officers with Covid-19 compliance and awareness.

FISHING

Residents and visitors must note that the local municipalities and SAPS agreed that fishing at beaches is only permitted with an approved permit. Further consultation with the various legal departments is ongoing.  Any developments in this regard will be communicated to the public, if necessary.

However, deep-sea fishing is allowed.

BEACH ACCESSIBILITY

No person is allowed to walk, jog or practice any other activity on any of the beaches in the Garden Route. However, where there are lawns along the beaches, people are allowed on the grass, although they are not allowed to enter the sandy parts of a beach between the grass and water.

The respective parking areas at beaches will still be accessible to the public, and at controlled beach parking areas, the law enforcement staff will advise visitors that swimming is prohibited and that no alcohol is allowed on the beaches and/or public spaces.

EVENING CLOCK RULE / CURFEW

Everyone must pay close attention to the curfew rule and adhere to it – it is a criminal offence to disregard the curfew. The only exceptions apply to emergency services personnel and those who need help for medical reasons or security issues.

Holidaymakers returning home should plan their trips timeously, as no law enforcement agency can issue permits for those who would like to drive to their destinations throughout the night.

LIFE SAVERS

Lifeguards will continue to be deployed, including at the traditional Blue Flag beaches – the latter for the duration of the traditional overnight concession to ensure that the public is advised about the beach ban. Overnight camping is allowed from 31 December 2020 to 3 January 2021, although the beach area remains prohibited. This ban will be strictly be enforced while security personnel will ensure that the ban on alcohol consumption on beaches and premises are complied with.

No alcoholic beverages are allowed on site. Swimming in rivers is prohibited.

NEW YEAR’S EVE

SAPS have confirmed that additional staff will be deployed to ensure law enforcement.

Municipal law enforcers will hold various roadblocks to ensure compliance with the municipal by-laws and road traffic law.

The public are kindly warned that the principle of zero tolerance will be followed and that strict action will be taken against those ignoring the regulations. The Garden Route Disaster Centre and the joint law enforcement initiative are requesting residents of the Garden Route for their cooperation so that drunk driving and violations of the regulations are prevented.

FIREWORKS

Fireworks have become a traditional way of ushering into the New Year. However, with the country under Lockdown Level 3, people will be forced to do things differently this time around.

Fireworks are strictly prohibited.  The GRDM Disaster Management Centre would like to call on the public to be considerate to animals when setting off fireworks.  The local municipalities’ Fire, Rescue and Disaster Management Services already deployed personnel to strategic locations to prevent possible veldt and other fires due to illegal fireworks. The public’s cooperation in this regard is appreciated – let’s all work together to prevent others from setting off fireworks in the district.

Instead, residents are encouraged to light a candle in memory of those who have lost their lives and in tribute to those who are on the frontline working to save our lives and protect us from harm.

Enjoy the last hours of 2020 and have a prosperous 2021!

Holiday message by the GRDM Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen

22 December 2020

Good day, all Garden Routers and visitors to the Garden Route district.  

We are fast approaching the end of 2020; a year that has taken a tremendous toll on all of us as Garden Routers, the nation and world. We, however, want to continue to welcome visitors and holidaymakers to the Garden Route, and we hope that you will enjoy your stay in our beautiful diverse region.

Since most of you already transitioned into the holiday and festive spirit and are inviting friends and family to functions and get-togethers, we want to advise you to always stay vigilant, to avoid large gathering if you can, to always wear your mask properly by covering your mouth and nose and to continue practicing social distancing. Should you have Covid-19 related symptoms stay at home and arrange for a test.

To my fellow brothers out there, I would like to plea to you during this festive season to act responsible and protect our women and children against the evil phenomena called gender-based violence.

As a district, we cannot end this year without remembering those who have lost their lives due to the Covid-19 pandemic, to gender-based violence and to other forms of violence.   We know that many families are currently heartbroken and we want to encourage you to use the time to celebrate their lives by reliving your memories of them. Do things differently this year – stay at home and spend time with your love ones – as this is the safest thing to do. Also, reflect on your purpose and rethink how you can improve it in the next year to make a meaningful difference in the lives of others.

We also want to extend a special word of thanks and encouragement to our essentials worker and health care community at the forefront and centre who have worked selflessly and courageously in saving lives – we appreciate you!

On behalf of the Garden Route District Municipality and its Council, I would like to wish you all a blessed and prosperous Christmas and festive season ahead. May it be a joyous time spent with your loved ones and may you all keep safe.

The year 2020 will indeed be a year to be remembered for generations to come.  We wish and pray for health and safety for every one of us and our communities for 2021.

We will rise again – God bless you all.

Wanga uThixo woxolo anganigcina nonke sibuye sibonane nakunyaka ozayo

I thank you

A letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa

A letter to President Cyril Ramaphosa

Dear President Ramaphosa

Happy Day of Reconciliation to you. I, Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) am writing to you from the Local Government of the Garden Route district, stakeholders from public and private sectors, as well as Garden Routers and domestic and international tourists currently in and/or planning to visit our region over the current festive season. I want to firstly thank you for your leadership and support this past year, a trying one it has been. Secondly, I want to provide my assurance that this district continues to stand beside you as the struggle against the Covid-19 resurgence continues.

However, I must implore you to reconsider the decision to close the public beaches in our region. The particular regulations I refer to is that of the Amended Regulations on 15 December 2020 in the Government Gazette (No 1346 in GG 439997), in accordance to section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act 57 of 2002.

The decision to close our beaches, while I do have some understanding for it, is in all likelihood not based on evidence that it will contribute to fighting the virus. In fact, the opposite is likely to happen as we now see large crowds of people flocking to every other amenity, including inland rivers, lagoons, lakes and shopping centres – centres which are enclosed spaces and where social distancing is far more difficult to adhere to than outdoors.

Our disaster management and health specialists, including Government’s scientific advisors, are convinced that the decision to close large open areas, in particular beaches, to the public may well have the opposite effect of that which we are hoping for. It may in fact lead to the Covid-19 numbers getting worse. Being outdoors in hot temperatures and receiving vitamin D is known to be effective in combating Covid-19. Vitamin D has been scientifically shown to have a beneficial impact in preventing infection with bacterial and viral diseases. In a recent study conducted by University Hospitals Birmingham NHS Foundation Trust in the UK, researchers found that those with severe Covid-19 are more vitamin D-deficient than those with mild disease.

Our district has worked very hard over the past year to have structures in place to do enforcement of venues including beaches and we will monitor every public area to ensure compliance to regulations if our beaches are re-opened. I am sure the people of the Garden Route and our visitors over the festive season, will also work with us and be responsible given the opportunity. We are also extremely concerned about the trend of cancellations by tourists
who had planned to visit our region over the festive season; this time of the year adds up to 35% to the annual turnover of our small and micro businesses over December and January. The seasonal income is also that which helps sustain the very businesses we have worked so very hard to support and promote.

Those providing accommodation to domestic and international travellers have been brought to their knees. We received an update from one of our accommodation booking sites who highlighted the following shocking statistics that they witnessed. “We have had 477 cancellations between 8pm (speech) and 2pm yesterday, worth 3.8 million. And that was just the online bookings from one large online agent and client’s own website.”

It is in light of all my concerns above, that I must humbly ask that you reopen our beaches. If not for the entire season, then please on the same basis as KwaZulu-Natal beaches, with beaches closed for public holidays only. To view the beaches affected by the recent amended regulations, access this link:
https://gardenroutedm.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=c5645d8e62cd4d0aa148a965411ec611

This matter can be resolved with a simple phone call or an announcement from your office to allow the reopening of our beaches.

I look forward to hearing from you as a matter of urgency.

With thanks.
Yours sincerely

ALDERMAN MEMORY BOOYSEN
EXECUTIVE MAYOR

DATE: 16 December 2020

 

Image of President Cyril Ramaphosa: Jairus Mmutle, GCIS
Image of Alderman Booysen, Executive Mayor for Garden Route District Municipality: Herman Pieters, GRDM

BEHAVIOUR CHANGE WILL HELP REDUCE COVID CASES

BEHAVIOUR CHANGE WILL HELP REDUCE COVID CASES

15 December 2020

In order for us in the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) to overcome the declaration as a COVID-19 hotspot as announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday, we have to immediately adapt our behaviour to one that adheres to all health protocols. This will help to protect ourselves and others, while also reducing the speed at which the virus is currently being spread.

Towns that form part of the Garden Route District are:

  1. Bitou – Plettenberg Bay, Keurboomstrand, Kurland, Kranshoek, Kwanokuthula, Nature’s Valley and Wittedrift.
  2. George – George, Wilderness, Hoekwil, Glentana, Herolds Bay, Victoria Bay, Haarlem, Uniondale, Herold and Noll.
  3. Hessequa – Albertinia, Still Bay, Riversdale, Heidelberg, Slangrivier, Jongensfontein, Blombos, Gouritsmond, Puntjie, Witsand, etc.
  4. Kannaland – Calitzdorp, Zoar, Ladismith and Van Wyksdorp.
  5. Knysna – Knysna, Sedgefield, Brenton, Buffels Bay, and Rheenendal.
  6. Mossel Bay – Boggoms Bay, Brandwag, Buisplaas, Dana Bay, Glentana, Fraaiuitsig, Friemersheim, Great Brak River, Hartenbos, Herbertsdale, Hersham, KwaNonqaba, Little Brak River, Outeniqua Beach, Reebok, Ruiterbos, Southern Cross, Tergniet and Vleesbaai.
  7. Greater Oudtshoorn – De Rust, Dysselsdorp, Oudtshoorn and Volmoed.

As at 16:40 on Monday, 14 December 2020, the GRDM had 22 015 cases with a recovery rate of 16 050.

In conjunction with the executive mayor of the GRDM, Alderman Memory Booysen, we will conduct a virtual District Coordinators Forum this Thursday with all Municipal Mayors and relevant business, religious and community leaders to ascertain how we as a collective will address the surge. Our primary aim is to with earnestness reverse how the virus is spreading.

I’d like to thank those who are continuing to adhere to all the health prescripts. I also commend our frontline workers who amidst the renewed surge of the virus, continues to remain professional and courteous.

I implore all those who still have little to no regard for the seriousness of this virus to change their behaviour.

In order for us to protect life, let’s wear a mask, regularly wash or sanitise our hands, keep a safe distance of at least 1,5m and at all cost avoid gatherings where space can be an issue.

The onus is on us if we’re to bring about a change in the GRDM

Media Enquiries:

Marcellino Martin

Spokesperson for Minister Tertuis Simmers

Marcellino.martin@westerncape.gov.za

021 483 3397 (o) / 082 721 3362 (m)

Or

Nathan Adriaanse

Director Communication & Stakeholder Relations

Tell: 021 483 2868 / Mobile: 083 2631720 / Email: Nathan.Adriaanse@westerncape.gov.za

Media Statement: Garden Route District Municipality and stakeholders challenging the decision to close Garden Route beaches

Media Statement: Garden Route District Municipality and stakeholder challenging the decision to close beaches

For Immediate release
15 December 2020

The Garden Route district now faces similar COVID-19 restrictions as the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality, which are meant to curb resurgence of the COVID-19 coronavirus. This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday, 14 December 2020 that Cabinet took a decision to declare the Garden Route District municipal area as a Coronavirus hotspot with some additional restrictions. Some restrictions are already in place while others will follow over the festive season, including the controversial closing of Garden Route beaches from 16 December until 3 January 2021.

Executive Mayor, Alderman Memory Booysen

Alderman Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor for the Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), said: “The closure of beaches is a hard pill to swallow because we are a tourism destination and our economy is still struggling to recoup from the hard lockdown.”

An urgent Garden Route District Coordinating Forum (DCF) was called by Mayor Booysen this morning where he engaged with local municipal mayors, municipal managers, command centre cluster leads, and stakeholders from SANParks, Cape Nature, National Prosecuting Authority, Western Cape Government Health, South African Police Services (SAPS), Western Cape Government Department of Local Government etc. to discuss the consequences of the President’s announcement. “Our plea and request/submission from this morning’s engagement and from the onset of the resurgence of COVID-19 in our region, has been for beaches in the Garden Route to remain open,” Ald. Booysen said.

Noon today, Alderman Booysen represented the Garden Route municipalities and presented the agreed submissions from this morning’s GRDM DCF engagement at a Provincial Coordinating Forum (PCF). The next step is for submissions to be communicated to the National Command Council, with the backing of the Western Cape Government. “One submission of particular importance to the Garden Route is for the Cabinet to relax the restrictions relating to the closure of beaches and to change it to the same restrictions faced by Kwazulu-Natal (KZN).” KZN beaches only have to be closed on 16, 25, 26 and 31 December 2020.

“I am adamant that we can still get through this if we avoid crowded places, close-contact settings, confined spaces and enclosed spaces. In addition, Garden Routers and tourists need to adhere to the golden rules of keeping safe and adhere to the new regulations. We agree wholeheartedly with the tightening of alcohol sales because it will lower the unnecessary alcohol-related trauma cases we often see at hospitals. We are hopeful that this resurgence will be over quickly,” Ald. Booysen concluded.

Below find an overview and impacts of the new regulations on the Garden Route.

ENFORCEMENT OF REGULATIONS

Drivers and operators of all public transport must ensure that passengers wear a mask. Similarly, managers and/or owners of buildings, places or premises (including retail stores), must ensure that those entering their premises wear a mask. Each employer must ensure that their employees wear a mask while at work. Please note that a person who contravenes these compliance measures are liable to a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.

CURFEW

The curfew is the same as Nelson Mandela Bay Metro, which starts at 22:00 and ends by 04:00. Non-essential establishments, including restaurants, casinos, gyms and bars, etc. must close at 21:00 to allow sufficient time for employees and patrons to return to their residences. Please remain inside your residence during those five (5) hours, except for emergency-related matters. Essential workers will still be permitted to move around during those hours.

SALE OF ALCOHOL

The sale of alcohol will only be permitted from 10:00 to 18:00 from Monday to Thursday. No one is allowed to consume alcohol in a public space, including at a beach or a park.

GATHERINGS

No more than 100 people will be allowed to attend indoor events, while the limit for outdoor events will be 250 persons. In addition, the number of people in a venue may not exceed 50% of its capacity. All post-funeral gatherings remain prohibited.

 BEACHES

The following link contains a list of all the beaches in the Garden Route: https://gardenroutedm.maps.arcgis.com/apps/webappviewer/index.html?id=c5645d8e62cd4d0aa148a965411ec611

Feature image caption: One of the popular beaches along the Garden Route coastline, the unspoilt, safe and breathtakingly beautiful Wilderness beach.

ENDS