Western Cape Premier Alan Winde says the province has passed the peak of the second wave of Coronavirus infections.
He said the Western Cape’s surge has ended, with new cases, oxygen usage, healthcare worker infections and test positivity steadily declining.
“The Western Cape has passed its second wave peak. Our health platform has adequate capacity. It’s time for more of the Western Cape’s economy to be safely opened to save jobs,” he said speaking at his weekly digital conference.
“In effect, we have been responding to two pandemics. One caused by the Covid-19 virus, and the other by growing poverty, unemployment and hunger.”
Winde said he supported the Level 3 lockdown as it had prevented hospitals from being overrun by the surge in infections over the festive season.
But the closure of beaches, nightly curfew and ban on alcohol has had a significant negative impact on the economy.
He said the first two weeks of the latest alcohol ban is estimated to have cost the Western Cape economy R1 billion, impacting 1 893 direct jobs in the retail sector alone, while nearly 30% of restaurants surveyed have closed.
He has now written to Health Minister Dr. Zweli Mkhize to relax certain restrictions in the Western Cape, including opening beaches and parks, changing the curfew to 11pm to 4am, and the closing time for establishments to 10pm, permitting the sale of dop from Monday to Thursday and allowing the consumption of alcohol at restaurants and wine farms.