We must amend our daily routines, says Joburg mayor as city shuts zoo, stadiums, theatres

19 March 2020 - 12:05 By Aphiwe Deklerk
Johannesburg is closing many of its public facilities to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Johannesburg is closing many of its public facilities to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.
Image: Gallo Images / City Press / Lucky Nxumalo

Johannesburg has cancelled all events approved by the city after a mayoral committee meeting on coronavirus interventions.

The city said in a statement on Thursday that the cancellations were in line with the national state of disaster announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday. Among other things, public gatherings of more than 100 people - 50 if alcohol is involved - have been prohibited. 

The city has also closed some of its public facilities.

“The Joburg, Soweto and Roodepoort theatres have been directed to postpone all shows and activities until further notice.

“All public swimming pools, recreational and civic centres, stadiums, libraries and sporting facilities are to be closed until further notice, including the Johannesburg Zoo.”

The city’s statement comes a day after cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced stricter regulations to curb the spread of the virus.

They include prohibiting the sale of alcohol between 6pm and 9am. Restaurants, clubs and taverns are prohibited from operating if there are more than 50 people inside.

Mayor Geoff Makhubo urged residents to be responsible and not undermine the potential impact the virus could have.

“We must, immediately and without second thoughts, amend our daily routines, forgo unnecessary travel, avoid restaurants and other places of entertainment, take due care for our personal hygiene and be vigilant to signs of infection and symptoms,” said Makhubo.

He said the city had accepted that it was the epicentre of the virus in the country, given the number of confirmed cases.

“We are taking all the precautionary measures to guarantee the safety of our residents and employees.”

The city will continue to deliver services and provide employees with protective equipment.

Revenue collection centres, including the licensing department, will continue to operate, but the city has encouraged residents to pay for services online.

“As a city we cannot overemphasise the need for calm and restraint, and cooperation with the authorities, as we seek to prevent and reverse the upward trajectory of infections. 

“This includes strict adherence to the set-out guidelines on gatherings and events, including funerals, as outlined by the province,” said Makhubo.