Traffic volumes from Durban to inland provinces have picked up as people cut their holidays short and accommodation bookings in KwaZulu-Natal have been cancelled.
This after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a tightening of COVID-19 regulations to lockdown Level 3 on Monday night.
Several districts in KwaZulu-Natal have been declared COVID-19 hotspots.
With beaches, bars closed and the curfew being extended for the next two weeks, more holiday-goers are thinking of cutting their vacation short.
Walking along the Umhlanga beach front the morning after the President’s announcement of the COVID-19 clampdown, the usually bustling area was almost deserted.
Only a few holiday-goers were walking on the promenade, while some were taking pictures in the scorching sun.
This time of the year it is usually almost impossible to find parking close to the beach.
Under the adjusted lockdown Level 3 that will be in force over New Year, beaches and parks are closed, while the sale of alcohol is also prohibited.
In the video below, President Ramaphosa addresses the nation:
The move came as the country breached the 1 million mark in COVID-19 infections and record daily increases.
The visitors say their holidays have been spoiled.
“There’s nothing we can do. The holiday must be cut in short because the President said everything, and almost everything is closed. We have come from Joburg. We arrived here on the 24th of December. And suddenly, we can’t go to the beach,” says one holiday goer.
Meanwhile, other holiday goers say they will stay because they have already paid.
“We arrived here last night from Krugersdorp on the West Rand. It’s bad for my children because obviously they were looking forward to go to the beach holiday. We are going to stay for the days that we booked because it has been booked and paid for, but it spoiled the holiday.”
CEO of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (Fedhasa), Lee Zama says on Tuesday people already started cancelling accommodation bookings
“The announcement has already given as very strong view that Durban is a hotspot for COVID-19 which government has declared and that has actually scared a lot of guests away from the province and rightly so. We expect some reaction to that effects people leaving early to get back to there or in homes and you must remember a lot of tourism travel comes from inland regions that goes to the coast.”
The N3 Toll Concession is reporting high traffic volumes as holidaymakers make their way out of KwaZulu-Natal.
N3TC Operations Manager Thania Dhoogra says it is out of the ordinary for holiday-goers to return home before New Year.
“Traffic volumes have begun increasing in the northbound direction heading back to Johannesburg and we expect this to continue throughout the course of today heading into the New Year in particular with the president’s announcement last night of South Africa moving back to alert Level 3. In the past hour, between 7 and 8am, we recorded an average of 800 vehicles per hour traveling northbound through the Mooi River Toll Plaza.”