Cape Town mayor Dan Plato. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Cape Town mayor Dan Plato. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

The gradual end of life as Capetonians know it will accelerate on Wednesday with the closure of numerous council-run facilities.

Mayor Dan Plato said that in response to the Covid-19 pandemic, doors and gates will be locked at swimming pools, camping sites, museums, art centres, community halls, civic centres, stadiums, spray parks, resorts, braai and picnic spots, city sports fields and nature reserves.

Earlier on Tuesday, the council said all events requiring a permit will be banned and permits will be withdrawn for any events that already had them. 

Plato said visits by the city council’s mobile office had been stopped and libraries would gradually reduce their opening hours. Customers will be able to take out and return only reading material. “The number of people allowed into the library will be controlled. Needless to say, this might change at short notice,” he said.

“Cemeteries will remain open, though residents are advised upon making bookings to be mindful of the number of people at the graveside during burials, and to please stick to their allotted times. The recreation and parks department is working to keep grave sites as far apart as possible to limit contact between mourners during burials.”

The mayor said all public and non-critical meetings, gatherings and site visits will be postponed indefinitely, except in emergencies. “The situation is being assessed daily and is subject to frequent and rapid change.” 

Council cash, housing and planning offices will remain open “for now”, as will driving licence testing centres, where hygiene precautions had been introduced.

“All eye-testing equipment is sanitised after each user. Staff have been issued hand sanitiser, and gloves and masks are on order. Additional sanitation of all work surfaces has been implemented,” said Plato. “The number of occupants has been limited as per the queuing system.”

The mayor encouraged customers to make payments online and deal with city officials by phone, where possible. Vehicle licences should be renewed online.

He acknowledged that the steps being taken will be inconvenient: “But in the interest of containing this highly contagious virus and for the protection of all our residents, we trust our residents will understand the need for these measures.”