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Lockdowns will spell collapse of hospitality industry, Fedhasa warns

'Do the right thing and get vaccinated so we can get back to business'

13 December 2021 - 11:27
Fedhasa has warned that more lockdowns will ruin the hospitality industry. File image.
Fedhasa has warned that more lockdowns will ruin the hospitality industry. File image.
Image: Jason Briscoe

The Federated Hospitality Association of Southern Africa (Fedhasa) has pleaded with the government not to enforce more Covid-19 lockdowns over the festive season to prevent the collapse of the industry.

Fedhasa chairperson Rosemary Anderson said the organisation has asked tourism minister Lindiwe Sisulu to intervene on behalf of the industry.

The national coronavirus command council (NCCC) is expected to meet this week amid rising infections in SA.

“Our hospitality businesses cannot survive a repeat of last year December where beach bans, alcohol restrictions and extended curfews shut us down,” said Anderson.

“With the international travel bans, hospitality businesses are reliant on domestic tourism over the festive season. Fedhasa and industry partners have been working closely with minister Sisulu and have submitted alternatives to lockdown restrictions.”

In addition to strict adherence of tourism, health and hygiene safety protocols instituted last year, the sector suggested, among other things:

  • reducing the size of indoor gatherings;
  • expanding curfew; and
  • prioritising vaccinations to mitigate the impact on SA’s healthcare system.

“With the Omicron variant already prevalent across SA, there is no point in banning interprovincial travel.

“While it is early days, the transmissibility of the variant does not appear to have translated into high levels of hospitalisation and death.

“Consequently, the pressure on our healthcare system remains manageable, which is what lockdown restrictions are there to ensure. We believe there is no reason for additional lockdown restrictions.”

Domestic leisure tourism is low-risk as it consists mainly of family/group travel in private vehicles to establishments and engaging in summer outdoor activities, she said.

“The development of new variants and associated travel bans and lockdowns must end if the travel and hospitality sectors have any hope of recovery in 2022.

“We ask every South African to urgently get vaccinated to help save the industry and to adhere to protocols.

“Our industry bears the brunt of these semi-regular lockdowns. You may not think it affects you, other than a minor inconvenience, but tourism puts food on the table of one in seven South Africans.

“Then consider what the impact of you not being vaccinated means for thousands of tourism workers who lose their livelihood every time government imposes a lockdown in SA. Do the right thing and get vaccinated so we can get back to business.”

TimesLIVE


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