Back to Level 3 - FCTG unpacks what this means for your travel plans
JOHANNESBURG, 29 DECEMBER 2020 – Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement yesterday, 28 December, that the country is moving back to adjusted Level 3 COVID regulations with immediate effect, the Flight Centre Travel Group would like to reassure travellers that their holidays can continue as planned.
“The Flight Centre Travel Group supports the President’s measures to flatten the curve and would like to assure holidaymakers that leisure travel, as well as business travel, can still take place,” says Andrew Stark, Managing Director of the Flight Centre Travel Group Middle East and Africa. “Whereas under the previous Level 3 regulations, interprovincial leisure travel was prohibited, this is not the case under the new and adjusted Level 3 regulations. Both domestic and international leisure and business travel is permitted subject to strict health and hygiene protocols.”
The Government Gazette indicates that international travel can take place from and to OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town International Airport. Travellers entering South Africa will need to provide a valid certificate of a negative COVID test not older than 72 hours. If travellers fail to submit a certificate as proof of a negative test, they will be required to do an antigen test on arrival at their own costs. If they test positive for COVID -19, they will be required to quarantine at their own expense.
The Flight Centre Travel Group addresses the most pressing questions from travellers under the adjusted Level 3 regulations:
Can I still travel locally and internationally?
Yes, local and international travel for both business and leisure purposes is allowed under the adjusted Level 3 regulations. Although the President has cautioned against travelling to COVID hotspots, it is not prohibited.
Can I break curfew to get to the airport in time for my flight?
Travellers will need to abide by the nationwide curfew. This means that they will need to be at their accommodation establishment from 21h00 to 06h00 unless they’ve obtained a special permit or are attending a security of medical emergency. Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma clarified during a press briefing that international travellers arriving after curfew are advised to carry their flight ticket or their stamped passport as proof of their reason to break curfew to reach their final destination. The Flight Centre Travel Group is investigating whether special permissions can be obtained for travel reasons for local travellers. In the meantime, please reach out to your Flight Centre expert for the latest updates on your travel arrangements.
Will pools be open at my hotel?
Although public swimming pools will be closed under Level 3, there remains some confusion as to whether hotel swimming pools that are open exclusively to hotel guests would be classified as public. It is advised to check with your hotel whether or not their pool will be open for use.
Can I go to the beach?
Beaches in all hotspots (including most beaches in KZN and the Western Cape) are closed as are dams, lakes and rivers.
Are game reserves open?
Game parks, botanical gardens, aquariums and zoos where access control measures and entry limitations are already in place, will remain open to the public.
What are some of the changes I can expect during my trip?
- Travellers will need to wear a mask when in a public place.
- Alcohol will not be served at restaurants as the consumption of liquor in public places is prohibited. This means that the tasting and selling of liquor to the public by registered wineries, wine farms and other similar establishments is also not allowed.
- All restaurants, museums, galleries, casinos, theatres and cinemas will need to close by 20h00.
“Although the travel experience might look a little different during these difficult times, people still have the flexibility to travel, to get outside and spend quality time with their loved ones,” says Stark. “We are just being asked to travel responsibly and follow a number of rules intended to keep all South Africans safe and healthy.”
Flight Centre has put in place a dedicated information hub for travellers where they will find extensive information on all possible travel questions. However, during these uncertain times, it can be comforting to speak to a human travel expert. “Our experts are just a phone call, chat or e-mail away for customers who are feeling uncertain or would like to have more information on their travel options,” concludes Stark.