Despite a steady climb in Covid-19 cases, scores of people ventured onto Hout Bay Beach at the weekend, flouting level 3 lockdown regulations.
The beach and parts of the harbour area saw visitors seeking out the sun, much to the distress of locals like Ernest Fredericks who drove past the harbour area and noticed people waiting to pick up the catch of the day.
“The businesses have reopened, and there are people moving around again, but Hout Bay numbers are not looking good at all, so we should not be allowed to have visitors to the area,” Mr Fredericks said.
He blamed the government for easing restrictions before the country had hit its infection peak.
“Things are only getting started,” he said.
“They should have put proper measures in place. Hout Bay is a tourist place, and will always attract people. Now we that are living here have to live in fear as people from all over are still taking a chance to come here.
“These businesses on the harbour must make their money somehow, but it has to be done responsibly.”
As of Wednesday there were 3196 Covid-19 cases in the province with 891 deaths. A provincial government report released on Monday June 1 noted that Hout Bay had 192 cases, with Imizamo Yethu accounting for 92 of them, central Hout Bay 41, Hangberg 7 and Hout Bay Heights 5.
Veronica Thomas said it was worrying seeing so many people ignoring lockdown regulations.
“People are out with no masks, there is no social distancing, and everything just seems back to normal. There must be a way to get through to the public and show people what the real dangers of the virus and how it destroyed many lives,” she said.
“People are even having Sunday lunch on the beach and enjoying a stroll, bringing kids out as well, with no masks.”
Level 3 lockdown came into effect on Monday June 1 and brought with it a widespread resumption of economic activity. The ban on alcohol was lifted and people can now exercise throughout the day, but beaches and several other public facilities have remained closed.
Ward councillor Roberto Quintas confirmed that beaches remained “off limits”, and only line fishing was allowed.
”Personally, I feel this is a draconian measure still being maintained by the national minister, and that social distancing on the beaches is one of the easiest practices to maintain, a sentiment echoed by Cape Town’s executive mayor who recently appealed to the minister to revise this,” Mr Quintas said.
However, the minister had not acceded to the mayor’s request and the regulation stood.
“I caution would-be beach goers to not fall foul of the law and contravene the regulations.”
Community activist Roscoe Jacobs said the council should have taken responsibility and acted immediately against those breaking the regulations.
“The City is in charge of the beaches, so they must make sure people are not breaking the regulations around beaches,” he said.
“The City’s law enforcement must take charge of this and enforce the rules and regulations of the lockdown.”
He added: “We cannot have people coming from all over, attending the beach and the area. We do not know where these people are coming from, but it cannot happen as it puts us all at risk.”