Due to the spiraling numbers of COVID-19 cases, the South African government has been forced to amend its lockdown regulations once more. For the moment, South African casinos are allowed to remain open, but they have had to curb the number of visitors. Many fear that it’s only a matter of time that places of entertainment will need to shut down altogether, if the numbers continue to rise.
Just before the Christmas holidays, co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma signed the amended regulations which were published in the Government Gazette. On December 28th, President Cyril Ramaphosatightened these regulations even further, putting South African in level 3 lockdown once more, until January 15th.
Businesses need to determine their area of floor space in square meters and then determine the number of customers and employees that can be inside at any time. In addition, hotels, resorts and lodges are also subject to a restriction about the number of people allowed – with no more than 50% accommodation capacity. The wearing of face masks is mandatory in public places. Noncompliance could lead to a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.
As a result of the government’s new restrictions, casinos across South Africa have been forced to adapt their safety policies. Sun International’s Wild Coast Sun for example introduced additional health and safety measures for visitors last week and will keep them in place for the foreseeable future. For the time being, the resort is restricted to hotel residents and MVG members only. Should visitors want to access the Wild Coast’s golf course, restaurant, quad bikes, Segway, Riverside or Mangwanani Spa, they will need to pre-book in advance.
Wild Coast announced that only hotel residents will have access to the Wild Waves waterpark for now. But even those who are permitted to enter will need to go through a checkpoint where they will need to fill out a medical questionnaire and have their temperatures taken.
The resort also saw the restrictions impact one of its most popular annual happenings, the Christmas Night Market. This year, the market was only open to hotel residents and MVG members. Most significantly, however, the resort and all its facilities haveto close before the 11 pm curfew introduced by the government. The Wild Coast, along with Sun International’s other properties, has been awarded the Safe Travel stamp, showing that they are compliant with COVID-19 industry protocols.
South Africa has reached nearly 1 million COVID-19 cases, and the second wave of the deadly pandemic is currently in full swing. In the past three days alone, a record spike was recorded,with more than 42,000 new infections, in a country that has already seen over 26,500 deaths since the outbreak in March.