Promenade swamped on day one

Cyclists on the promenade on the first day of Level 4. Picture: Karen Watkins

The lockdown regulations may have relaxed a little on Friday but Capetonians didn’t. They came out in droves, locals and visitors, joggers, cyclists, dogs and babies.

They were all there, despite heavy fog – and calls from government to practise physical distancing and refrain from gathering in groups. Many were wearing face masks, which are now compulsory.

There was no way they could keep to the physical distancing regulations. Some stood close to others, chatting and catching up after 35 days in lockdown.

Level 4 regulations state that people may run, walk or jog within a 5km radius of their home, between 6am and 9am. With no siren or law enforcement to mark 9am the crowd thinned, with some remaining to continue exercising.

Big Bay and the Strand promenades had similar turn-outs. The City Improvement District has issued a warning to joggers on the Sea Point promenade that authorities will start clamping down on people not following lockdown exercising regulations, following numerous complaints. They are calling for exercise hours to be extended to allow people to be physically distanced.

Ward councillor Nicola Jowell confirmed that there had been a number of complaints from the public.

SAPS warned that from Saturday May 2 there would be zero tolerance, that everyone must wear a mask, that people should only run, walk or cycle on paved areas only and that beaches and grass were strictly out of bounds. People are not allowed to drive outside their residential areas to exercise but should do so near their homes and by 9am all exercise in public must stop.

Premier Alan Winde has petitioned national government to extend the window for public exercise so that the volumes of people exercising at any one time can be reduced. Mr Winde said this also made sense as the sun was rising later as we approach winter.

It was considerably quieter by Tuesday May 5 and everyone was wearing face masks. Even the City of Cape Town Metro Police Equestrian Unit were also spotted stretching their legs and their riders chatting to people.