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Free access to festivals, sport events on the cards for those vaccinated

Free access to music festivals, sporting events and cultural gatherings are some of the “soft incentive” measures being discussed by the government in an effort to encourage local citizens and visitors to get vaccinated, the South African Health Ministry has revealed.

These measures, which would require attendees to show some vaccination confirmation when attending these events, are set to be finalised over the next week, health Minister Joe Phaahla said during a media briefing at Baragwanath hospital in Johannesburg on Friday, September 3.

“The SA government is looking into “soft incentives” to encourage vaccination,” Phaahla said, adding: “It is exploring free entertainment, sports events (such as soccer games), and cultural events that people will be able to attend if they agree to be vaccinated.”

Although consultations have already taken place with sporting bodies and events and arts groups to promote these events, Phaahla empathised that It’s currently not government’s priority to mandate Covid-19 vaccination.

“But we are aware of the debate around this, and we encourage businesses to implement policies that are within the law,” he said.

The announcement has been welcomed by several tourism bodies and experts, including Rosemary Anderson, FEDHASA national chairperson.

“FEDHASA has been in support of mass vaccination of all those in South Africa, from the get-go and commends government for looking at measure to encourage citizens to get vaccinated,” Anderson said. “simultaneously this needs to be done sensitively and in harmony while respecting all our human rights.”

“The recovery of the South African hospitality industry is reliant on the opening up of music and sporting event” – FEDHASA

Anderson pointed out that opening up music and sporting events will go a long way in the recovery efforts of the hospitality and tourism industry.

“South Africa is renowned for hosting world-class sporting, cultural and entertainment events, and it is most heartening to see that this will be happening once again – which will add handsomely to the recovery of our sector.”

On the matter of relaxing existing lockdowns restrictions, Phaahla said a full analysis would be conducted by the health department – together with Covid-19 ministerial advisory  committees – in the coming weeks.

Meanwhile, the Western Cape government announced on that visitors who are partially or fully vaccinated, may enter provincially sponsored museums free of charge.

“As we kick off Heritage Month in the Western Cape, Minister Anroux Marais is happy to announce free access to our affiliated museums for those presenting vaccination cards, both fully and partially vaccinated,” reads a statement posted on the ministry’s official website.

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