Media release by Premier Alan Winde on move to Alert Level 3

“Premier Alan Winde welcomes move to Adjusted Alert Level 3”

I welcome the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa that the entire country will move down a level, to Adjusted Alert Level 3. This will provide much needed relief to many residents in the Western Cape and will help get the balance right in saving both lives and livelihoods.  

I also welcome the announcement of additional financial relief measures to support the most vulnerable in our society and our economy, such as the reintroduction of the COVID-19 Social Relief of Distress Grant, the deferral of the tax on alcohol for three months, and the deferral of PAYE taxes payments. 

The relaxing of restrictions places an even greater responsibility on our residents to ensure that we act responsibly, by practicing the life-saving behaviours that we have learnt over the last year. The Western Cape’s health system is still under pressure, and so we have to make sure we continue to break the chain of transmission and protect those most at risk of severe COVID-19 infection.

The Western Cape Government has adopted a policy position that both lives and jobs need to be saved during this unprecedented pandemic. Getting this balance right is extremely difficult, but it remains important because a job is not just a nice-to-have – it is often the difference between putting food on the table and starving for many people in the Western Cape. 

In supporting this decision, I considered the following factors:

  • According to the NICD there is an over 70% probability that the Western Cape is at its peak already. We are closely monitoring our data, but it seems that the province will peak below its second wave peak.
  • The Western Cape’s advanced planning for the third wave, as well as investment in additional resources over the last month, means that continue to have the capacity to respond, although under pressure at the peak.  
  • Our economy is battling. According to our own research, potential losses suffered by the Western Cape alcohol industry as a result of the last 14-days of restrictions amount to R1 billion in sales and 2 798 jobs. The now month-long ban could potentially result in losses of R2 billion in sales and 5 596 jobs.
  • The potential losses suffered by the Western Cape restaurant industry are estimated to be R316,8 million in sales and 1 174 jobs as a result of the last 14-days of restrictions. The industry is severely impacted by a full alcohol ban, and so these losses would have been extended if it had continued.
  • According to a snap poll, conducted by the Western Cape’s Department of Economic Development, of over 400 businesses in the accommodation and restaurant sub-sectors, roughly 40% had closed temporarily, with two-thirds of businesses saying they will lose between 75% to 100% of their revenue for July/August 2021. One third of responders have had to retrench staff.
  • The impact of taxi related violence has put further pressure on livelihoods in our province. When you couple this with the nation-wide economic impact of the looting in Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal, it becomes clear that more needs to be done to boost growth and save jobs.

I again want to urge each and every resident to play their part during this very critical time. The relaxing of some restrictions will help us save jobs, but we still have to safeguard our healthcare system and save lives. You, and how you behave, remains the most powerful tool to do this.

So please:

  • Wear your mask properly, covering your nose and mouth.
  • Wash and sanitise your hands regularly.
  • Avoid crowded places, confined spaces and close contact.
  • Keep your gatherings short, small and outdoors – with lots of ventilation.
  • Drink responsibly and do not drink and drive.
  • Get vaccinated when it is your turn.
  • Stay home if you feel sick. If you have any difficulty breathing, seek urgent medical treatment.
  • Help protect those at highest risk – especially those who are older, and those with comorbidities.
  • Continue to protect your own family bubble.

If we all work together in this way, we can keep on flattening the curve and help save lives and jobs in the Western Cape.