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

Media Release: COVID-19 braille guidelines distributed to public

Media Release: COVID-19 braille guidelines distributed to public

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.

WESGRO COVID-19 Content Centre – Business Support

WESGRO COVID-19 Content Centre is a virtual team of sectorial and communication experts who help businesses to navigate the uncertainty caused by various sources of information during the crisis and provide guidelines and best practice to help companies build resilience for now, and the future.
The team is made up of staff from the Department of Economic Development and Tourism (DEDAT), Wesgro (Cape Town and Western Cape Tourism, Trade and Investment Promotion Agency), City of Cape Town, GreenCape and private sector.
Frequently asked questions:

Media Release: COVID-19 awareness sessions in the Bitou area

Media Release: COVID-19 awareness sessions in the Bitou area

For Immediate Release
25 March 2020

In an effort to prevent the spread of the corona virus, the Plettenberg Bay based Environmental Health Practitioners (EHPs) from Garden Route District Municipality continue to raise awareness about the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

On 20, 23 and 25 March 2020 officials visited KwaNokuthula, Crags and Kranshoek areas in Bitou to distribute flyers to the residents.  During these visits officials educated residents about the pandemic and asked them to also share all essential messages to their respective households, family members and friends to prevent the virus from spreading widely among communities.  Proper hygiene practices, regular hand-washing, keeping a minimum distance of 1.5 meters between oneself and others were shared.  Spaza shops, taxi ranks, informal settlements, petrol stations, police stations and clinics, were among the sites/spots that were visited – some were revisited. Members of these communities welcomed and appreciated the visits from the EHPs.


Op 20, 23 en 25 Maart 2020 het die Omgewingsgesondheidspraktisyns van Plettenbergbaai gemeenskappe van KwaNokuthula, Crags en Kranshoek in Bitou besoek, om pamflette aan die inwoners te versprei. Tydens hierdie besoeke is inwoners oor die korona pandemie opgevoed en versoek om alle noodsaaklike boodskappe met hul onderskeie huishoudings, familielede en vriende te deel, om sodoende te verhoed dat die virus wyd onder gemeenskappe versprei.  Behoorlike higiëne praktyke, gereelde handewas gewoontes, en die handhaaf van ‘n minimum afstand van 1,5 meter tussen jouself en ander is bespreek . Inwoners van hierdie gemeenskappe het die besoeke van die Omgewingsgesondheidspraktisyns verwelkom en waardeer.


Written by Marlene Nqumse
Communication Officer

Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

Statement by the Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, Cllr Memory Booysen

24 March 2020

Statement by Executive Mayor, Cllr Memory Booysen

As the Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality, I welcome the lockdown and various measures introduced by the South African President, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa on 23 March 2020. These are unprecedented times and we all have a responsibility to work together and do everything we can to slow this virus down with a 21-day lockdown, from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020 until 16 April 2020. This lockdown is in place to curb the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

Our Multi Agency Command Centre meets daily to ensure that we are ready to implement whatever is required in order to protect our residents from the virus and assist them to limit the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus.

I want to call on all Garden Routers to please remain calm as the president has made it clear that food stores and medical services will remain open during the lockdown. There is much work to be done in the coming days but the agricultural and retail sectors have already assured the public that there is sufficient food supply. When going to buy food, please do not take the whole family with you, rather go as an individual for the family and take the necessary precautions as far as possible.

Law enforcement and emergency services staff will continue working and ensuring the safety of our communities.

Please stay home, look after one another, and check official government channels for regular updates. We will update our Facebook page daily, and will continue to communicate with the public. Let’s work together to limit the spread of the Coronavirus, and flatten the curve.

My heartfelt thanks goes to our essential services workers and those on the frontline who will risk their lives to save others. We will forever be in their debt. It’s now time for everyone to follow the advice and take every measure to contain this disease. Lives depend upon it.

Cllr Memory Booysen,
Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality

The NICD Hotline on 0800 029 999 operates seven days a week, 24 hours a day
The Western Cape Provincial Government Hotline on 021 928 4102
WhatsApp: 0600 123 456

Media Release: Temporary closure of all Garden Route District Municipality Resorts

Media Release: Temporary closure of all Garden Route District Municipality Resorts

For Immediate Release
23 March 2020

After careful consideration, and under the advisement of public health experts regarding the current risk of COVID-19 (Coronavirus) spread, Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM) has decided to temporarily close all its resorts, namely: Calitzdorp Spa, De Hoek Mountain Resort, Swartvlei Caravan Park and Victoria Bay Caravan Park. This will be effective from Tuesday, 24 March 2020 until further notice.

The District has made this decision so as to safeguard the health and safety of guests, resort employees and community members.

GRDM looks forward to re-opening at the earliest opportunity and will keep the public informed when the resorts will re-open again.


Media Queries
Herman Pieters | Senior Communicator
Garden Route District Municipality

Media Release: Health System’s response to physical distancing #STOPTHESPREAD OF COVID-19 GEORGE SUB-DISTRICT

Media Release: Health System’s response to physical distancing #STOPTHESPREAD OF COVID-19 GEORGE SUB-DISTRICT

For Immediate Release
22 March 2020

Health system’s response to physical distancing #StopTheSpread of COVID-19

George sub-district

Thousands of people visit public health facilities on a daily basis and, as the Western Cape Health Department, we need to be responsible and #StopTheSpread to especially protect vulnerable people.

To protect our community, we promote avoiding all situations where human bodies are in contact and reducing the times and places when people come together – including going to a public health facility when it is not necessary.

By keeping your distance from crowded places such as clinics and hospitals, you protect the vulnerable, including the sick and elderly, and safeguard our facilities against the spread of the virus.

Western Cape Government Health therefore requests that unless you require emergency treatment that you please stay at home and seek advice first if unsure. If you need emergency medical care, you must urgently go to your closest health facility.

George sub-district

Primary health care clinics will remain open for essential services.

Chronic patients: Patients with 6-monthly Doctor or Sister appointments to renew their scripts will be able to collect their medication at their clinic but they will not have to draw a folder or have observations done if they are well. A fast lane will be set up at all clinics to ensure limited time in the waiting area. Please check with security on arrival at clinic where the fast lane is situated at your specific facility. Patients are requested to please keep to their appointment times as this will help with decongestion of the waiting rooms.

Dental services: Only management of pain and sepsis with medication will be offered, no extractions or any fillings will be done.

Allied services: Occupational therapy, Physiotherapy, Audiology, social work and Dietician services will be stopped.

Only persons who meet the current NICD screening criteria will be tested for COVID-19 at hospitals and select clinics.

No persons who are well (i.e. those with no symptoms) will be tested.  Members of the public are encouraged to complete an online-self assessment form or call either the National hotline: 0800 029 999 or Provincial Hotline 021 928 4102. For those who do need testing: do not  just present yourself at a health facility for the test. Contact the facility beforehand to arrange for a date and time to arrive at the facility to be tested.

The main three facilities for testing in your area are:

Conville Clinic: 061 683 4312

Pacaltsdorp Clinic: 0670991719

Thembalethu Clinic: 081 392 4130

Uniondale Hospital: Sr Makok & Sr Du Preez 044 814 1410

Uniondale Provincial Hospital will divert all resources to essential and emergency services:

  • All non-urgent surgery has been cancelled.
  • Specialist clinics will be postponed.
  • Women’s health services and services to pregnant women will continue.
  • Limited ultrasound/sonar services will continue.
  • All non-emergency x-ray appointments will be rebooked.

George Regional Hospital will divert all resources to essential and emergency services:

  • All non-urgent surgery has been cancelled.
  • All Outpatient Department visits will be rescheduled for a later date except high-risk antenatal clinic, dialysis treatment and chemotherapy. The hospital will be in touch with clients who had appointments. If we have not made contact with you, kindly phone the Outpatient Department on 044 802 4408 or 044 802 4455.
  • All day-theatre cases, and planned surgery will be rescheduled.


COVID-19 Multi-Agency Command Centre Established for the Garden Route

Garden Route District Municipality (GRDM), yesterday, 19 March 2020, established a COVID-19 Multi Agency Command Centre (MACC) at its head office in George. This follows Western Cape Government’s call on all districts to do the same to ensure that the various clusters share what is happening closer to grassroots level. Clusters are categorised into the following stakeholder groups: Transport; Social Services and Education; Health; Safety and Security; and Communications.

“We are one of the first Districts to act proactively in ensuring that our clusters are up-and-running,” said Cllr Memory Booysen, Executive Mayor of Garden Route District Municipality.

“I am thankful for our Municipal Manager, Mr Monde Stratu’s leadership and quick response to the pandemic,” said Booysen. “Stratu meets with his Senior Management on a daily basis to discuss the organisation’s readiness and receives feedback from Disaster Management about the status of agencies and communities. Our GRDM Manager: Municipal Disaster Management, Mr Gerhard Otto’s also acted swiftly in getting all stakeholders together. He keeps key stakeholders in the Garden Route up to date on developments from a provincial and national level since the onset of COVID-19 in South Africa. In terms of communication, our organisation’s Communication Unit continuously communicates with communicators at a national, provincial and b-municipal level. A group for staff members have been created where awareness is filtered to all levels of employees, who are then tasked to communicate messages to contacts in their phone books. We also use Facebook and Twitter to share information,” said Booysen.

Otto yesterday confirmed that there are 47 cases of COVID-19 in the Western Cape at the moment, and 150 in South Africa on 19 March 2020.

Dr Terence Marshall (Department of Health) who leads the Health Cluster, during the first MACC said that they are currently starting on phase two of responses for COVID-19. “Additional sites are being identified for testing and we are possibly also getting a mobile testing station.” He explained that they are already also “planning for phase three, which relates to large scale community transitions of the virus, and facilities for isolation”. One of the next important interventions that need immediate attention, is the “decongestion of public services”. Western Cape Government will shortly communicate the plan of action going forward to address this.

Dr Marshall also said: “A decision was taken that no visitors should be allowed at vulnerable sites (e.g. Old age  homes, correctional serviced and hospitals).”


The COVID-19 MACC acknowledges the major challenges businesses are experiencing right now. Many are taking innovative steps to allow for social distancing, like ensuring their employees not to use public transport and digitising more of their operations, but there is always more that can be done.

An appeal is, however made, to all employers to do what they can, to let employees work from home. Every business should develop a social distancing approach that means staff should not be forced to be in close proximity to each other.

A best practice guide together with other FAQs on COVID-19 is being developed to assist businesses to stop the spread and will be published at


There were about 35 stakeholders present at the first meeting, which was raised as a concern due to social distancing. Consequently, it was requested that only one or two people per cluster form part of the COVID-19 MACC which will take place on Monday – Friday mornings.

The list of stakeholders who were present at the first JOC, include: The National Department of Correctional Services, South African Police Services, Western Cape Department of Health, Western Cape Department of Health for Garden Route and Central Karoo, GRDM Economic Development and Tourism, George Pop, George Municipality, Go George, Emergency Medical and Ambulance Services, Provincial Traffic, South African Health Monitoring Survey, Life Bayview Hospital, Western Cape Department of Trade and Tourism, Airports Company of South Africa and George Fire and Rescue Services.


It is advisable for you to stay at home and self-isolate if you display the symptoms of COVID-19 (cough, fever, sore throat) combined with the international travel history or came into contact with a confirmed case. Contact the Hotline on 0800 029 999. They will advise you on the next steps. For Western Cape citizens struggling to get through to the Hotline an alternative number has been set up to assist local citizens with health related information on COVID-19– 021 928 4102.

There are certain basic things the public can do to prevent the spread of the virus:

  • Wash hands regularly, every 30 minutes for at least 20 seconds
  • Cover you cough and sneeze, in the crook of your arm or tissue and throw it away
  • Avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Reconsider or avoid non-essential international travel to affected areas
  • Keep a distance of at least one metre from people who are sick
  • Stay at home if you feel unwell


If a person develops flu-like symptoms, do not panic. Community members should isolate themselves at home. This means one must limit contact with others.

Please call the National Coronavirus Hotline: 0800 029 999, the Provincial hotline: 021 928 4102 or WhatsApp “Hi” to 060 012 3456. A person can also call your health practitioner for further advice on what to do next. If unwell, stay home, except to get medical care as directed by the hotline or advice of health practitioner – do not go to work, school or public areas.