Category: Covid-19

Appeal by the Head of Health, Western Cape Government, for the appropriate use of face masks

Many people feel that they can protect themselves against COVID-19 (Coronavirus) by wearing personal protection equipment (PPE) such as gloves and masks as a precaution.

The Head of the Western Cape Health Department has issued an appeal to the general public of the province to not wear gloves and masks, due to the risks these items pose in spreading the coronavirus if not used properly.

Personal protective equipment (PPE) is a scarce commodity and should be used appropriately and by the appropriate people. If you are not ill and not in close contact with someone who has Coronavirus, you do not need to wear a mask or gloves.

What is personal protective equipment (PPE)?

Personal protective equipment is a wide term for items, such as surgical face masks, N95 respirators, aprons, face shields or visors, goggles, and gloves, that protect against different types of risk. PPE is used when treating people who have an infectious disease, cleaning or removing waste.

Who must wear PPE?

Risk determines what personal protection equipment to wear. In general, PPE such as masks and gloves, are only needed if you are in direct contact with- or caring for a person who is confirmed or suspected to have COVID-19, at home or in a health facility. This is part of infection control.

Scientific evidence proves that by wearing a mask, if it is not needed, you may put yourself at higher risk because you fiddle with the mask and then transfer germs from your hands to your face.

Wearing a mask or gloves when going to the supermarket or pharmacy to buy essentials, is ineffective, unnecessary, and will not protect you from the Coronavirus. In fact, it can spread infection faster.

The Health Department has developed clear guidelines for the general public. It advises the public to practice good hand hygiene, not touch your face, and to keep a distance of 1.5 metres from other people when you have to leave your home for essential items or medical care. Members of the public should also strictly obey the conditions of the current lockdown by staying at home unless necessary – to not do so is breaking the law.

To reiterate, for the general public no PPE is needed.

You do not need to wear a mask in public if you are not ill. In fact, if you do not feel well, stay at home. If you have flu-like symptoms, call the national hotline at 0800 029 999 or the provincial hotline at 021 928 4102.

We are aware that certain national policies have a requirement for staff to wear certain PPE items, for example masks. We are engaging those bodies with expert advice to make sure PPE is used appropriately.

For more information on do’s and don’ts of Coronavirus, visit our website on

Together, let’s stop the spread.

– END –

Mark Van Der Heever
Deputy Director: Communications
Western Cape Government Health
Tel: 078 589 4156

Media Statement: Trading hours, meals-to-go and cigarette sales

Media  Statement

For Immediate Release

29 March 2020

Three issues, namely the standardising of trading hours, selling meals-to-go and cigarettes, were some of the many pressing issues discussed at the Multi Agency Command Centre at Garden Route District Municipality over the past two days.

Here is what you need to know:

Trading hours

It was decided to standardise the trading hours of shops that trade with food. The decision, taken at the COVID-19 Garden Route District Multi Agency Command Centre, aims to reduce the number of people on the road and visiting shops. Trading hours will be between 08:00 and 18:00, daily.


Selling of ready-made hot meals is prohibited. No business, food outlet, including supermarkets (like Spar, Woolworths, Checkers Pick ‘ Pay, etc.), restaurants or cafés will be allowed to provide any hot prepared meals, meals-to-go or take aways to any member of the public.


A decision was made a short while ago by the South African Police Service to ban the sale of cigarettes, this decision, has however been reversed. Grocers who form part of the selling of essential items, are allowed to sell cigarettes again, but not Tobacco-only traders.


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

Media Statement: Restrictions to Funeral Services during the COVID-19 Pandemic

Please take note that the regulations subsequently changed and a new statement is available here:

Media  Statement

For Immediate Release

28 March 2020

Grieving families will unfortunately have to endure strict measures for funeral services during the COVID-19 pandemic. One funeral service with 50 or less mourners, per service, will be allowed until further notice. Added t0 this, persons are prohibited to travel outside their province, metro or district area to attend a funeral service.

Funerary customs of various cultures, although respected by government, have to be restricted to smaller groups and one ritual, due to the risk of transmissions of COVID-19 during group gatherings. Safety measures must be strictly adhered to.

Night vigils will also be prohibited, equal restrictions for weddings, traditional ceremonies and parties, are in place.

Local or Metro Municipalities can adjust their bylaws to a smaller number of people per group if they choose to do so. The decisions were published in the Government Gazette, No. 43148 – 25 March 2020.

Download the Regulations – 43148


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

Media Statement: Strictly prohibited during lockdown – non-essential services done via ‘home visits’

Media  Statement

For Immediate Release

27 March 2020

Authorities monitoring online media have noticed a multitude of opportunistic individuals sharing their plans to offer non-essential services during the lockdown. Only government-approved essential services may be rendered from 27 March to 16 April 2020.

Offenders will face serious consequences, which might include:

  • arrest
  • detention
  • fines (up to R5000.00).

Members of the public who allow businesses to come to their homes are equally guilty as those rendering services and will face equal repercussions.

A ZERO TOLERANCE approach is required to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Let’s stop the spread

  • Stay home
  • Keep 1.5 metres from others
  • Call for advice
  • Cough and sneeze into a tissue or the corner of your arm.
  • Wash your hands regularly with soap and water for at least 20 seconds


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

Press Release: Have you registered for your permit to operate during the lockdown as an essential service?

Press Release

For Immediate Release

27 March 2020

Have you registered for your permit to operate during the lockdown as an essential service?

The Bizportal website ( is now operational. Companies need to click on the Services tab and then on the COVID-19 tab. This will take them to a page where they need to register the company details. As a last resort, should you be unsure whether your operations qualify as essential, and you are unable to access the Bizportal, an email can be sent to

What is listed as an essential service during the lockdown?

In the Regulations made in terms of Section 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act published on 25 March 2020, “essential service” is defined the services as defined in section 213 of the Labour Relations Act, and as listed below.

Categories of essential services shall be confined to the following services:

  1. Medical, Health (including Mental Health), Laboratory and Medical services;
  2. Disaster Management, Fire Prevention, Fire Fighting and Emergency services;
  3. Financial services necessary to maintain the functioning of the banking and payments environment, including the JSE and similar exchanges, as well as Insurance services;
  4. Production and sale of the goods listed in category A of Annexure B of the regulations, as covered in the previous FAQ;
  5. Grocery stores, including spaza shops;
  6. Electricity, water, gas and fuel production, supply and maintenance;
  7. Critical jobs for essential government services as determined by Head of National or Provincial Departments in accordance with the guidance by the DPSA, including Social Grant Payments;
  8. Birth and death certificates, and replacement identification documents;
  9. Essential municipal services;
  10. Care services and social relief of distress provided to older persons, mentally ill, persons with disabilities, the sick, and children;
  11. Funeral services, including mortuaries;
  12. Wildlife Management, Anti-poaching, Animal Care and Veterinary services;
  13. Newspaper, broadcasting and telecommunication infrastructure and services;
  14. Production and sale of any chemicals, hygiene products, pharmaceuticals for the medical or retail sector;
  15. Cleaning, sanitation, sewerage, waste and refuse removal services;
  16. Services related to the essential functioning of courts, judicial officers, the Master of the High Court, Sheriffs and legal practitioners required for those services;
  17. Essential SARS services defined by the Commissioner of SARS;
  18. Police, peace officers, traffic officers, military medical personnel and soldiers, correctional services officials and traffic management services;
  19. Postal services and courier services related to transport of medical products;
  20. Private security services;
  21. Air-traffic Navigation, Civil Aviation Authority, Cargo Shipping and dockyard services;
  22. Gold, gold refinery, coal and essential mining;
  23. Accommodation used for persons rendering essential services, quarantine, isolation and the lockdown;
  24. Production, manufacturing, supply, logistics, transport, delivery, critical maintenance and repair in relation to the rendering of essential services including components and equipment;
  25. Transport services for persons rendering essential services and goods, and transportation of patients;
  26. Services rendered by the Executive, members of Parliament, Members of the Provincial Legislature, Members of Local Councils, the Judiciary, traditional leaders and National Office Bearers of Political Parties represented in Parliament;
  27. Commissioners of the South African Human Rights Commission, Gender Commission, and the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of the Rights of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities, and the Public Protection and Deputy Public Protector; and
  28. Transport and logistics in respect of essential goods as set out in A about to neighbouring countries.


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

Government measures for SMMEs in response to the COVID-19 pandemic

The impact of COVID-19 on Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs) has been prevalent long before the announcement of the State of National Disaster by the President, and will worsen owing to the lockdown to curb the spread of the virus. SMMEs and the Informal Sector will be affected on a multi-front, and the government continues to announce multiple interventions to alleviate the economic impact of COVID-19 against SMMEs and the Informal Sector.

The Department of Small Business Development has introduced three intervention measures to support SMMEs affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. These are the Business Growth and Resilience Facility, SMME Relief Finance Scheme and Sefa-Debt Restructuring Facility.


The Business Growth and Resilience Facility is targeted at SMMEs who locally manufacture or supply hygiene and medical products that are in demand in order to curb and manage the spread of the COVID-19 virus. These are products such as sanitizers, detergents and tissue paper. This facility will offer working capital, stock, bridging finance, order finance and equipment finance. The funding amount will be based on the funding needs of the actual business.


The SMME Relief Finance Facility will provide soft-loan funding for existing businesses in distress due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The relief will be for a period of 6 months, from 01 April 2020. In an instance where SMMEs will require assistance for longer than 6 months, the term may be extended dependent on their needs. Separate and tailor-made Facilities are being finalized for the Informal Sector, Spaza Shops and the Self-Employed. These will be announced on Friday, 27 March 2020.

Key to the qualifying criteria for the Business Growth and Resilience Facility and the SMME Relief Finance Scheme is that the entities must be 100% South African owned, 70% of their employees must be South African, and the entities must be registered and be compliant with SARS. In the instance that an SMME is not compliant, they will be assisted with the compliance process before their applications can be considered.


The Sefa-Debt Restructuring Facility is geared towards sefa-funded SMMEs that are negatively affected by the pandemic. A payment moratorium/ holiday will be given to the qualifying SMMEs for a period of a maximum of 6 months, in efforts to reduce the installment burden of loan obligations on the affected SMMEs. These SMMEs will be required to illustrate the direct linkage of their business distress to the pandemic.

The SMME South Africa platform ( was created in partnership with Telkom SA, and will serve as a gateway for SMMEs to apply for both financial and non-financial support, access information about business opportunities and market access support during the pandemic, and beyond.

Press Release: COVID-19 braille guidelines distributed to public

Press Release

For Immediate Release

26 March 2020

Earlier today, 26 March 2020, a call-to-action was communicated to the public to notify Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), should anyone require a COVID-19 Braille Guideline document. Mr Carl de Campos, a SQL Database Administrator from George, was the first to request one. Just over an hour after the request, Mr Deon Van Wyk (GRDM Deputy Fire Chief), delivered the document to de Campos at his home. Upon receiving the document, de Campos said: “I’d like to thank Garden Route District Municipality for organising this guideline and thinking of the blind, I sincerely appreciate it”. Mr de Campos also shared details of other people in the district who needs the COVID-19 guidelines.

Deliveries of those guidelines will take place today or tomorrow by Essential Workers.
Mr Clive Africa (GRDM Executive Manager: Community Services), is currently on his way to Knysna to deliver another copy of the guideline to a person whose son is visually impaired.

Mr Carl de Campos receives his COVID-19 Braille guideline document.


The document, includes the following content:

Overview of the disease

Infectious Agent; Clinical Description; Reservoirs; Incubation Period; Mode of Transmission; Signs and Symptoms

Case Definitions

Suspected Case;Confirmed Case

Prevention and Control

Precautionary measures to general public; Advise all contacts & home care; When and how to wash our hands; Washing your hands is the best way to protect yourself and your family against diseases and/or illnesses; Five Steps to Wash Your Hands the Right Way; Guideline for cleaning and disinfection in your home; Points to Remember.


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

Speech by Mayor Booysen at the 21st Council Meeting of Garden Route DM


Councillor Justin Fry, I would like to officially welcome you to the same colour t-shirts we’re wearing in the Garden Route, because for the unprecedented scenarios we face, we have to operate accordingly as well. We are facing “business unusual”. I’m specifically referring to COVID-19.

When a person loses a family member, we say Angel Gabriel visited his or her family. Angel Gabriel also visited the Garden Route District Municipality when Councillor Nomhiki Jacobs. Not only did I lose her as a friend, but a sister as well. She was one of the first people who befriended me and thereafter we became public representatives. At one stage, we briefly parted ways due to different political ideologies and here at Garden Route District Municipality, we grew closer again. We have both always wanted to fight for the people of Plettenberg Bay. She passed away whilst fighting for the community of Plettenberg Bay.

Because of the lock-down, we have also had to take drastic measures. I would like to official communicate to Council that we will adhere to the call of the President, Cyril Ramaphosa. Our municipality closes today and we do have the tools of trade to work from home. We also have the technology because we have teleconference and videoconferencing facilities available in all our Committee Rooms.

One of the most important tools to fight the virus with, is through clear communication. Because of the digital divide and many other circumstances, some of us are disadvantaged. In light of this, Garden Route District Municipality has made provision for the visually impaired by preparing a Braille document about COVID-19. We will distribute the Braille document to those who need it. I want to make it clear – we will do whatever we can to fight the virus.

Thank you, in advance, to all the essential workers who keep us informed wherever there risks are. For most citizens, the immediate reaction is to run away from danger, but essential workers run towards it. I urge essential workers to always keep in mind that their safety is of utmost importance, especially when looking at this virus which has caused a pandemic. The only way to deal with it is to abide to the rules. The same is expected from us as Councillors and officials. We cannot predict how the lock-down will unfold.

Also, for those who will not be called during this testing and trying time, please be safe, isolate yourself. See this as an opportunity to bond with your family. I will encourage all of us, where we can, to remain in isolation. Only in unusual circumstances, we’ll go out and assist.

Finally, I would also like to say to the family of the late Cllr Jacobs that, again, unfortunately, the majority of us would have loved to be at her funeral, but unfortunately because of the lock-down. Councillor Meyer, please also accept my condolences to your loss of one of your family members.

Thank you Mr Speaker.

Garden Route Business Impact and Continuity Survey March 2020

Recently our lives and specifically our businesses have been affected and disrupted by droughts, crime, energy issues / load shedding and now the Corona COVID -19 virus.

We wish to gather information from you as business owners and leaders as to the impact the disruptions are having on your business. Hence the survey is designed to gather a high-level insight into the impact on businesses and measures taken to ensure sustainable business operations. Read more…

Please click on the link below to complete the survey.

The survey consists of 12 questions and should not take you more than 10 minutes to complete.