IN PICTURES | New Year's Eve before and after the coronavirus pandemic

01 January 2021 - 07:14 By TimesLIVE
The public pool on the promenade of Durban’s famous Golden Mile with empty beaches in the background on December 31 2020.
The public pool on the promenade of Durban’s famous Golden Mile with empty beaches in the background on December 31 2020.
Image: Mlungisi Mbele

Just how much the coronavirus pandemic changed our world was evident at popular holiday destinations in SA on New Year’s Eve.

Once bustling festive season attractions, crowded with holidaymakers and locals frolicking in the sun while counting down the hours until midnight, were virus “hotspots” almost devoid of human life on Thursday.

The last day of the year was unlike those that elicited shrieks of delight from children, still on a high from Christmas, at popular hangouts in Cape Town and Durban. It was eerily quiet. There would be no raising of glasses to toast the arrival of 2021 at restaurants, pubs and clubs.

TimesLIVE photographers who captured the carefree festivities on the last day of 2019 returned to the same spot on December 31 2020 to document how the pandemic — and lockdown — had changed our lives.

The public pool on the promenade of Durban’s famous Golden Mile beachfront is usually a firm favourite for thousands of New Year revellers who enjoy a cool respite in the water from the humidity of the coastal town.

The public pool on the promenade of Durban’s famous Golden Mile on December 31 2019.
The public pool on the promenade of Durban’s famous Golden Mile on December 31 2019.
Image: Mlungisi Mbele

The famed 5km promenade which is a famous destination for joggers, surfers, sunbathers and cyclists is traditionally packed with people.

This time around it resembled a ghost town, with a handful of children to be seen.

Cape Town's famous Clifton beach on the last day on 2019.
Cape Town's famous Clifton beach on the last day on 2019.
Image: Esa Alexander

Cape Town’s renowned Clifton Beach is a bucket list sunbathing destination for locals and overseas visitors at this time of year. A place to which international celebrities often retreat.

But on Friday there was not an umbrella, beach lounger or soul to be seen. The level 3 lockdown beach ban was in full force.

Clifton beach on December 31 2020 under lockdown.
Clifton beach on December 31 2020 under lockdown.
Image: Esa Alexander

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