The hospitality sector in the Western Cape is “open for business” – despite the global outbreak of the COVID-19 strain of coronavirus.

The Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa) Cape chapter is working in partnership with the Western Cape Department of Health, Wesgro and Cape Town Tourism to ensure the hospitality industry is ready to welcome visitors to the province.

“While we have seen a decline in travellers from affected countries, such as Italy, we’ve seen more visitors from countries such as the USA, Canada and Germany. We’ve been pleasantly surprised by the resilience of travellers, and this upswing could be a result of travellers choosing to visit destinations that have not been severely affected by the virus,” said Fedhasa Cape Spokesperson, Richard Lyon.

Preventative measures have been rolled out across hotels, which includes education on hand washing and heightened hygiene in public areas. Should any guests show symptoms of the virus, they will be isolated and the establishment will follow the protocol set out by health authorities, he adds.

“There have been no advisories against large gatherings, events or travel, until further notice, the South African hospitality industry is open for business as usual,” concludes Lyon.

The City of Cape Town has also addressed questions about its preparedness to deal with potential cases of COVID-19. “We would like to reassure our residents that the City is working closely with the lead agencies involved, to ensure a co-ordinated and effective response, if required,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Community Services and Health, Zahid Badroodien.

According to a statement from the City of Cape Town, City Health has taken a series of steps to prepare local clinics for potential cases of the virus. These steps include training of all staff; identification of rapid response teams; acquiring personal protective equipment for staff; and displaying information posters in waiting rooms.

The City’s Environmental Health Practitioners have also ramped up their health promotion awareness and education sessions, with a particular focus on Early Childhood Development Centres and schools.

“As it stands, Cape Town is open for business. We will be advised by the relevant health authorities on a case-to-case basis,” said the City’s Mayoral Committee Member for Safety and Security, JP Smith.