Cape Town: South Africa’s legislative capital of Cape Town announced that the city would create car-free zones in order to ensure safe outdoor dining.
The move also aims to help restaurants in the summer, which is the peak tourism season, with the tourism and hospitality sector supporting tens of thousands of jobs, as the city is trying to counteract the abrupt international cancellations following the detection of the Omicron Covid variant, reports Xinhua news agency.
“While we cannot help every restaurant, we hope this innovation will make a positive difference in the lives of many hospitality workers,” Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis said in a statement.
The first car-free zone will be set up on Saturday in a section of the main street in the busy city centre from 2 p.m. to 11 p.m., and will thereafter expand to other streets, including Long Street, a popular hangout place, according to the statement.
“We know the impact that Covid has had on Cape Town businesses and the thousands of Capetonians they employ. Innovative thinking is needed to help get our economy through this wave, and we are committed to doing what we can,” said the Mayor, adding that the idea was raised by a Cape Town resident on social media.
Hill-Lewis encouraged residents to support the local restaurant trade while staying safe this summer.
Mugging and other crimes against tourists and residents are common in the city, including its tourist spots, yet it still holds a great fascination for a large number of visitors.
Following the travel bans, the city a week ago relaunched a pocket-friendly campaign that offers discounts on flights, accommodation and attractions around Cape Town to attract domestic travellers in summer.
The Western Cape government earlier on Monday said the province, which hosts Cape Town, has officially entered the fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, in terms of the technical definition provided by the National Institute of Communicable Diseases, meaning the number of newly-confirmed cases in the province reaches 30 per cent of the peak of the previous wave based on a seven-day moving average, which is about 1,100 new cases daily.
The province’s Premier Alan Winde urged residents to get vaccinated as soon as possible, wear masks, ensure good ventilation with lots of fresh air, and avoid indoor meetings while keeping good hygiene and staying home when feeling sick.