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The North Gauteng High Court in Pretoria today ruled against the motion to have COVID-19 Regulation 69(12)(a), (b), (c) and (d) declared unconstitutional. This regulation stipulates inter alia that all beaches in the Eastern Cape, as well as on the Garden Route will be closed from 16 December to 3 January. It also stipulates that all beaches in KwaZulu-Natal will be closed on 16, 25, 26 and 31 December, as well as from 1 to 3 January.

AfriForum’s legal team is of the opinion that although the urgent application did not succeed, it was important to highlight the disastrous effects the closure of beaches will have on businesses. “It is also important to take note that the court’s judgement does not excuse the government’s action, but adjudged that the government’s decision to close beaches was indeed valid,” says Daniël Eloff, AfriForum’s legal representative.

“Although AfriForum is disappointed with the outcome of the case, the organisation would like to encourage the public to still visit their favourite holiday destinations and to support the local businesses to lighten the financial burden in these coastal towns. These businesses will most likely now suffer immense and in most cases irreparable damage due to the fact that most holidaymakers cancelled their vacation plans because the beaches are closed,” says Monique Taute, AfriForum’s Head of Campaigns.

“According to a scientific study, the chance of contracting COVID-19 in the outdoors is about 1%. AfriForum therefore maintains that to visit the beach is a form of recreation that takes place outdoors and people are exposed to the sun that contributes to a healthier immune system. The alternative is that people will turn to places like shopping centres and restaurants that hold a much higher risk of spreading the virus,” Taute concluded.

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