COVID-19 REGULATIONS: IMPLICATIONS FOR ACCOMODATION ESTABLISHMENTS

The Minister has published Regulations in terms of the Disaster Management Act relating to Accommodation establishments.

The Regulations are currently of force and effect due to the promulgation thereof.

Regulation 3(3) provides that “The assembly of more than 50 persons at premises where liquor is sold and consumed is prohibited.”

Regulation 8(2) provides that “All premises selling liquor which provide accommodation must implement measures to stop the spread of COVID-19: Provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygiene conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with COVID-19 are adhered to.”

The wording and content reflected in the Regulations leaves much to be desired.An accommodation establishment is not affected by Regulation 8(4) relating to restricted times when the business may be open for trading.

One reason for the COVID-19 measures introduced is to restrict close contact as between large groups of persons. The Regulations seek to further restrict the current general 100 person gathering limit to 50 persons regarding premises where the sale of liquor takes place on such premises and is consumed there.

Although many accommodation establishments can meet the 50-person limitation, there are selected establishments providing beds in excess of such figure.

Although reduced occupancy rates will in all probability occur (already a factor due to the travel bans and impact of the virus around the world), it could not have been intended by the legislator that a proprietor with a large accommodation component must restrict occupancy to 50 guests with regard to the provisions of Regulation 3(3).

By analogy, a large corporation employing in excess of 100 employees at premises would then likewise fall foul of such figure. Therefore, Regulation 3(3) can only apply to the provisions contained in Regulation 8(1) relating to other on-consumption premises selling liquor, including taverns, restaurants and clubs (but excluding accommodation) where a 50-person limit is effective.

In summary, it is business as usual for accommodation establishments subject to compliance in terms of Regulation 8(2).

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