Level 1: A 'cold' goodbye to Newlands
SPOTLIGHT: “Fellow South Africans, the cabinet decided that the country should move to alert Level 1.”
The direct words of South Africa President Cyril Ramaphosa in his address to the Nation on Wednesday, September 16.
The move to Alert Level 1 will take effect from midnight on Sunday, September 20.
For the hospitality sector, which includes travel and tourism, Level 1 means gradually easing into the ‘new normal’.
Restaurants along with gyms and theatres are now allowed to accommodate up to 50 percent of their venue’s capacity given their floor space.
While in terms of travel, people will be allowed in and out of South Africa for business, leisure and other travel.
In terms of sports, Level 1 is accompanied with loads of positivity for professional rugby players.
They finally have a chance to take to the field after the Covid-19-enforced break in March.
The local season will resume on September 26 with a double-header at Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, followed by a unique ‘Springbok Showdown’ at Newlands in Cape Town.
The Showdown at Newlands is certainly a once in a lifetime occurrence and is an ideal farewell for one of the most iconic stadiums – albeit only for the players.
For the fans, however, they will have to bid their final farewells via their TV-sets, given that “the existing restrictions on sporting events remain in place,” the president revealed.
Under the existing restriction “spectators are still prohibited from attending matches,” meaning matches will be played in empty stadiums.
Most of us were hopeful that Level 1 means crowds are welcome at stadiums, based on its huge capacity figure.
But despite Newlands Stadium and Loftus Versfeld’s capacity of more than 50 000 people, respectively, along with the government’s cap of ‘500 people for outdoor gatherings’, Ramaphosa and his cabinet deemed that stadiums are far from equipped to deal with alleviated regulations.
Fans will now have to wait with bated breath on South Africa’s Minister for Sports, Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa, who will have the major task of overturning the president’s decision.
If not, it seems like the Newlands faithful have already enjoyed their last match.
What a cruel and cold way to say Goodbye to the Grand old dame!