Nightclubs face ruin as they are still barred from opening under level 1, Newsline

Cape Town – More sectors of the economy are expected to reopen from today as the country officially moved to level 1 of the nationwide lockdown.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma outlined what the new regulations would be and what would be permitted.

A curfew remained in place from midnight to 4am every day. The limit for gatherings is now 500 people and International borders will gradually be reopened.

“The initial spread of the virus came through international travel. However, given the progress we have made in our fight, 18 land borders and three international airports (OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airport) will resume operation for international travel from October 1. The 35 land borders currently closed, will remain closed and all commercial seaports will be opened,” she said.

Only nightclubs remained entirely prohibited from reopening. According to Dlamini Zuma, it becomes difficult to control crowds in nightclubs.

But this has left owners at their wits’ end, fearing financial ruin. Randolf Jorberg, owner of Beerhouse and chairperson of the Long Street Association, said: “It adds to further closures of clubs and the financial pain of club owners. We have already seen many places close for good in Long Street, including iconic places. And depending how long this is we could see more. This is an unprecedented situation and many are not aware of the financial woes.

“There is no chance for us to catch up and we have a massive cost base, although we have managed to reduce cost but we are making zero income and turnover.”

Some club owners are fearful for their lives after allegations of organised crime targeting clubs emerged. Some are considering approaching the police for an interdict or protection order to prevent members of an alleged racketeering gang from entering their premises.

Cape Argus spoke to several restaurant owners on condition of concealing their identities and clubs.

“For me the economy is very bad and soon many clubs are going to leave Cape Town to open somewhere else,” one owner said.

Meanwhile, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane is on a mission to revive the tourism sector in the country.

She said: “We’re hard at work and we are focusing on locals who should explore domestic tourism. The minister of health will be responsible for making further announcements about countries allowed (to visit).”

Cape Argus