For a while, at least? Maybe.
Holidays start today in SA. Not officially, and not for everyone, but The Day of Reconciliation (that was today) does generally mark some sort of beginning to the summer holiday season.
The festive period is always a bit weird: it’s hot and sunny, which it clearly shouldn’t be at Christmas time and all our routines are swept away for a few weeks: Kids at home. Me at home. Dog at home. Wife at work. Playdates, restaurants, shopping, general socialising.
This year: nope. It’s everybody at home (even though the wife is still at work). We’ve got a couple of (outdoor, socially-distanced) things that still have to be done and then and we’re all holing up as the second wave hits Cape Town. Early days, but it does already appear to be much more severe than our initial problems in May, June and July.
President Ramaphosa swung into action once again with targeted measures aimed mainly at reducing superspreader events. And I get it – to a certain extent – but once again, there does seem to be a degree of irrationality when 100 people are still allowed to gather indoors, but all the beaches in KZN, the Eastern Cape (definitely outdoors – I’ve been there) and the Garden Route are closed.
Better policing and enforcement of the regulations would be a much better way of going about things, but our police force is understaffed, overwhelmed, dysfunctional and aggressive. And while I can understand why you can’t just close some of the beaches in a given area (because then everyone would just go to the ones that were open), this is a lazy catch-all which has understandably angered many people – and merely driven everyone to other venues in the tourist areas: at least some of which will be indoors.
In KZN, the beaches are only closed on those days on which the majority of poorer people traditionally go there. And yes, the beaches on those days are horrifically overcrowded and would likely be very unsafe from a Covid point of view, those people are now going to stay in their horrifically overcrowded residential areas which are very unsafe from a Covid point of view. This doesn’t help much at all.
We’re in the Western Cape, where our beaches are still open – bizarrely only between 9am and 6pm – concentrating the crowds as much as possible. But it’s unlikely that we’ll be spending much time there.
It’s going to be a surreal summer: no extended family, limited travel, no socialising.
It’s a pain. It’s sad. It’s irritating. But it is just one year.