New rules for travel, weddings and accommodation in South Africa

The Ministry of Tourism has released an updated set of norms and standards to ensure the safe operation of the tourism sector during the country’s state of disaster.

The aim of the document is to introduce minimum universal practices that the sector will follow to prevent the spread of Covid-19. The policy assumes it will take some time before the pandemic subsides and aims to assure local and international travelers that the South African tourism industry is sufficiently equipped to deal with the coronavirus.

The guideline applies to several sectors, including:

  • Tourist establishments;
  • Short term rentals;
  • Events;
  • weddings;
  • meetings;
  • Exhibitions; and
  • Accommodation.

Although each sector has different requirements, the document says the expectations are essentially the same – focus on preparing staff and providing a safe experience.

Preparation of staff and guests

A person responsible for accommodation must:

  • Train host and staff on health and safety protocols, in accordance with the latest local and international health guidelines;
  • Describe to staff and host the cleaning, infection control and disinfection processes on safety measures, including frequent disinfection and hand washing;
  • Encourage the use of electronic payment methods on arrival and departure, where possible; and
  • Develop an action plan outlining the process for dealing with Covid-19 cases.

Safe experience

A manager must:

  • Adopt frequent enhanced cleaning, sanitation and disinfection measures;
  • Communicate health and safety protocols to guests prior to their arrival;
  • Communicate the rules for physical distancing, wearing face masks and disinfection; and
  • Communicate to customers in advance the completion of health declaration forms and relevant contact details.

Building trust

The person in charge of the tourist establishment must:

  • Ensure clear and direct communication with customers on safety and hygiene protocols both digitally and physically;
  • Implement clear signage throughout the facility to inform guests of cleaning protocols and physical distancing;
  • Provide guests with guidelines consistent with advice from health authorities, including wearing face masks, hand hygiene and social distancing.

Industry-specific rules regarding weddings, hospitality, events, casinos and gift shops are explored in more detail in the document below.


Read: Hospital admissions in South Africa double daily as Omicron cases soar

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