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Tourism Update’s Boitumelo Masihleho attended Tourism Month activities as a guest of the Department of Tourism in the historic mining town of Cullinan last week.
It was one of the first press trips since national lockdown on March 26 and provided an opportunity for the media to experience how the tourism industry has implemented the health and safety protocols.
This is her first-hand report:
The accommodation facility that hosted us in Cullinan was exceptional in ensuring that surfaces were sanitised and rooms were kept clean. Social distancing was ensured during mealtimes with the tables set the required distances apart.
Unfortunately, as has been seen in restaurants and other such establishments, people have become relaxed about following health and safety protocols. People often forgot to wear their masks after they finished in the dining rooms and returned to their rooms. Sanitising after meals also seems to be a challenge for the general public.
Where both the public and the tourism industry can work together to ensure better compliance of the protocols is in transportation to and from tourism establishments. A shuttle service was used to ferry us between the township of Refilwe – where some of the activities took place – and the accommodation.
Although social distancing occurred in the shuttles, the wearing of masks within the vehicles was not enforced enough, especially after enjoying lunch at a local tshisanyama (a tavern where meat is grilled).
We were able to enjoy Adventure Zone Cullinan and do a quad bike ride as well as experience a bicycle tour of Refilwe. What is difficult to enforce is the wearing of masks during these activities.
It is understandable that wearing masks while during such activities may make breathing difficult for some and not for others, so where do we draw the line on the enforcement of mask wearing in adventure activities?
Compliance with the health and safety protocols is more than taking temperatures of guests, filling in health forms and providing sanitising stations. A big part of how the tourism industry recovers will be to change the mindset of both tourism businesses and the consumer.
Being under Alert Level 2 doesn’t mean that we can relax and become complacent. Compliance also stems from the attitude of all parties involved to continue to fight the virus and ensure the safety of everyone.