Cape Town Mayor, Geordin Hill-Lewis, has written to President Cyril Ramaphosa asking him to scrap the 50% COVID-19 capacity restrictions for outdoor venues, allowing for the full resumption of public, entertainment and sporting events.
“I have written to President Cyril Ramaphosa with 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,” said Hill-Lewis in a statement today (Wednesday, January 19).
He noted that, as the summer peak season got into full gear and the latest Omicron variant of COVID-19 proved 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.
“The City of Cape Town has shown that we can safely manage large events with clear adherence to health safety protocols to protect residents and spectators. Since October last year, we have hosted the Cycle Tour, the ABSA Cape Epic, Miss SA, 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 events have been very low,” highlighted Hill-Lewis.
He emphasised that this experience showed that the city could now remove capacity restrictions at sporting events too. “With a large number of Cape Town residents vaccinated, adhering to mask-wearing where required, it is possible to safely return to having spectators at sport events, as can be seen at stadiums and events all over the world.”
Hill-Lewis pointed out that the SA 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, would 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,” the Mayor added.