CAPE TOWN – Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said he has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa to scrap the Covid-19 capacity regulations to aid economic recovery.
In a statement released, Hill-Lewis said his letter to Ramaphosa had two specific requests.
“One, that the ‘50% capacity rule’ for outdoor public facilities, like public swimming pools, be lifted entirely.
“Two, that spectators be allowed to return to watch major sporting events (such as the India-South Africa cricket tour).
“As the summer peak season gets into full gear, and the latest Omicron variant of Covid-19 proves to have less of a negative impact than the previous Delta variant, the resumption of public, entertainment and sporting events should be a priority for aiding economic recovery,” he said.
Hill-Lewis said the City of Cape Town’s public swimming pools are being swarmed by residents and visitors during the summer and people start queuing from as early as 4am to get in, however, the City is forced to stagger the entry times to adhere to the 50% capacity rule.
He said this often resulted in many people just going home.
He said the City has shown it can safely manage large events with clear adherence to health safety protocols.
“Since October last year, we have hosted the Cycle Tour, the ABSA Cape Epic, Miss South Africa, the Cape Town Marathon and the FNB One Run among others. All of these are high-profile and large events hosted successfully during a pandemic.
“In all of these cases, we can provide data to show that the number of infections from the respective event have been very low,” Hill-Lewis said.
He said this showed that the capacity restrictions can now be removed at sporting events too.
“The South Africa v India cricket matches currently taking place in Cape Town as well as rugby and football matches scheduled to take place at the Newlands and DHL stadiums will benefit from crowds in the stands cheering on their teams.
“These crowds also support the livelihoods of dozens of small businesses and vendors in and around those events.
“Lessons learnt from these matches will help us prepare to host the Rugby World Cup Sevens South Africa 2022 in September,” Hill-Lewis said.