South Africans have been told that they can visit some overnight accommodation venues, but others either remain forbidden at this adjusted stage of Level 3 or stuck in a grey area. It’s good news for a number of accredited businesses, but for the likes of Airbnb, the wait to welcome customers goes on.
From President Ramaphosa’s speech on Wednesday, we learned the following:
A lot of guess work still remains, but for accommodation venues that can open, the hard work is only just beginning. All premises must prove that they can meet tough safety requirements and operate in a manner which is considerate of social distancing, and the laws regarding the prevention of spreading COVID-19:
“Following further discussions with industry representatives on stringent prevention protocols, Cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on certain other economic activities. This includes accredited and licensed accommodation, with the exception of home-sharing accommodation like Airbnb.”
“Specific and stringent safety requirements have been agreed on and will need to be put in place before a business can re-open, and protocols will need to be strictly adhered to for businesses to remain open. Announcements will be made in due course to detail these measures.”Cyril Ramaphosa
Members of the shadow cabinet – and the general public – have also expressed their dismay over the rules for accommodation. The AirBnB is a particular sticking point for the critics:
Interestingly, President Ramaphosa must believe that COVID-19 can tell the difference between a hotel room and an Airbnb. It’s the only explanation why the one is allowed and the other is not. This is scientific-based leadership at its best!— Dean Macpherson MP ?? (@DeanMacpherson) June 17, 2020
Mr President Ramaphosa kindly rethink not opening Airbnb’s. It’s not house sharing. Airbnb’s provide an income for a lot of families and are no different to hotels. Your advisors need to do their research. @CyrilRamaphosa @PresidencyZA #LockdownSA #Ramaphosa— Lesedi (@Lesedi_MM) June 17, 2020