With the summer holidays suddenly upon us it seems as if the Overstrand can look forward to a bumper season, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Accommodation facilities across all our towns are reporting bookings for the whole of the extended holiday period that runs into late January,” said Frieda Lloyd, Tourism Manager of the Cape Whale Coast. The busiest time is expected after 16 December up to 15 January.
“As per normal, we are expecting many visitors who want to make late bookings, as this has become a new trend. At this stage most of the available accommodation has already been booked, but there will still be a few options available. In addition, we are expecting large numbers of day visitors to our towns looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city life across the mountain. Our towns all offer a wide variety of outdoor activities and events that make it easy to practise social distancing and not find yourself in large crowds.
“It is especially the smaller towns that are anticipated to draw more visitors than expected precisely because people want the space that will allow them to keep their distance from others,” Lloyd said.
Most of the restaurants in the area are also busy and many who are open during Christmas and New Year have already been fully booked for those days. According to restaurant owners they are happy with the number of people visiting their establishments.
“It is no secret that all restaurants are under financial strain and we are therefore looking forward to the busy season. But at the same time, we need to be responsible in our actions when it comes to keeping our diners and staff healthy. We will stick to all the lockdown regulations. In order for us to comply, however, we need the cooperation of our diners. We urge the public to understand that we are limited in the number of people we can allow, we must screen your temperature and when you are not at your table, you must please wear your mask,” said a CBD restaurant owner.
Lloyd asked residents, visitors, and businesses to strictly adhere to lockdown regulations. “This will be a summer season unlike any other we have had before. Not only will it be the first time since the lockdown started that our towns will be full of visitors, it will also be the first time holidaymakers will need to stick to the rules and regulations. We need to accept the new normal and make the best of it. Our whole region is dependent on tourism and we must do everything possible to prevent a resurgence of Covid-19 on our shores.”
The start of the season also will also see the launch of the Hermanus CBD Public Safety Initiative that will commence on Friday 11 December and remain in force until Saturday 23 January 2021.
This safety drive is a combined effort between SAPS, Municipal Law Enforcement, Hermanus Public Protection (HPP), neighbourhood watch groups and private security companies. The aim of the initiative is to make the CBD and the Cliff Path (from the New Harbour to Grotto beach) a safe and nuisance-free environment for visitors.
According to HPP there will be a focus on vagrancy, muggings, drunken behaviour, assault and robbery. Guards will also be directed to assist with enforcing lockdown regulations, especially the wearing of masks at all times, and social distancing.
The Western Cape Government has also said that it will crack down on traffic violations during the season, especially drunk driving. A total of 318 motorists were arrested in the province for driving under the influence of alcohol between 27 March and 1 December 2020. Of these, 103 cases were reported between 12 November and 1 December after the resumption of alcohol sales on 11 November.