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Level 3 changes: Some hotels can open, but Airbnb stays off-limits

It’s official, South Africans will soon be allowed to visit ‘overnight accommodation’ venues during Level 3. But Airbnb won’t get the go-ahead.


Photo: Pexels

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.

Level 3 latest: Yes to some hotels, no to Airbnb

From President Ramaphosa’s speech on Wednesday, we learned the following:

  • Home-sharing options like AirBnB’s are officially off-limits, until at least Level 2.
  • However, ‘licensed and accredited accommodation’ – such as guesthouses and other small hotel venues – can open.
  • We have a grey area with hotel complexes: Ramaphosa is yet to confirm if these larger-scale businesses can take guests.
  • We’re awaiting NCCC confirmation, but we understand that rules on accommodation have been relaxed mainly for ‘business and conference-hosting purposes’.

What Ramaphosa said about accommodation regulations

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

Level 3 accommodation rules haven’t pleased everyone

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: