South Africa officials have announced that the country will not re-opening to international tourists until February 2021.
The announcement comes as the country moved into Level 3 of the Risk Strategy on June 1. This level probits both domestic and international travel with the exception of those traveling for business, as reported in Travel Pulse.
Hotels are allowed to reopen only if they are providing lodgings for business travelers.
Level 3 also means that restaurants can open for delivery and takeout. Services including, tour guides, tour operators, and travel agents can begin working again as long as they are compliant with current regulations.
Hiking can be done in compliance with guidelines but not in groups, and like many other countries working to mitigate the spread of the virus, festivals, conferences, entertainment events, and leisure travel are not permitted.
“Based on the COVID-19 epidemic expected trajectory, the first phase of the recovery for the sector will be driven by domestic tourism, followed by regional tourism and international tourism next year,” Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane told The Evening Standard.
South Africa’s tourism minister added that the government is woking with those industries to keep businesses operational.
“We continued to see many businesses in the sector fighting for survival and our projections showed that almost 600,000 jobs were at risk if the sector doesn’t come into operation by September 2020,” he said. “This reality led to both the government and private sector working together […] to get the sector back into operation. As we open up the sector, we are therefore confident that measures have been put in place to protect our employees, suppliers, tourists, and all those who are involved.”
South Africa has been the hardest-hit country on the continent with more than 60,000 confirmed cases and more than 1,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University & Medicine data.