TODAY we are on day 433 of the national lockdown and, on Sunday evening at a “family meeting”, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced adjusted level 2 lockdown restrictions would be imposed as from Monday morning. The new restrictions are as follows: All indoor and outdoor gatherings, including religious, political and cultural meetings are permitted, subject to a maximum of 100 people for indoor and 250 people for outdoor gatherings, provided that, where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, no more than 50% of the venue’s capacity may be occupied, with all social distancing measures to be observed; Travel between provinces is permitted, though discouraged; Funerals may only be attended by a maximum of 100 people and services are not to exceed two hours, and no vigils are to be held; Public recreational spaces such as parks, dams and beaches will remain open, subject to the rules of mask-wearing and social distancing; Businesses must determine the maximum number f employees permitted on the premises to accommodate a 1.5m distance between staff; The curfew has now been set to between 11pm and 4am; Non-essential businesses including restaurants, shops, bars and gyms must close by 10pm; Every person is compelled to wear a mask in a public space. It is a criminal offence, punishable by a fine or imprisonment, not to do so; The owners and managers of public buildings, centres, shops, restaurants, taxis and buses all have a responsibility to ensure that people on their premises or in their vehicles wear masks, and that the appropriate social distancing measures are in place; If testing positive for Covid-19, or having been in contact with another person who tested positive, one must self-isolate for 10 days.
MANY people have called TotT to ask where and when they can receive a vaccine. They have asked their doctors and the Port Alfred Hospital and been told the closest vaccination centres are in Makhanda (Grahamstown) and Gqeberha (Port Elizabeth). Older people especially are not satisfied with this answer. We have sent messages to the provincial health department and the municipality asking if vaccines will be dispensed in Port Alfred, but have yet to receive a response. Though online registration is available, many residents do not have or have limited access to the internet, and it is primarily older people or those in ill-health, who need the vaccine. If we receive an answer we will post it on the TotT website.
WATER is still the major issue in town, even more so than the sewage leaks. Though it rained quite liberally over the weekend (30mm in Port Alfred), if it doesn’t fall in the catchment areas it doesn’t make the Kowie River flow strong enough to pump water from the weir. The good thing is that those with rainwater tanks witnessed them overflowing during the downpour, and more inclement weather is on the way. The 2.5Ml water tank at Thornhill is being poured and I hope to visit the site shortly to report on this mega structure and show how much engineering goes into such a project. However, without rain or the RO plants, the tower is likely to remain empty for the foreseeable future.
I HAD the pleasure of visiting the Nolukhanyo Grow project, led by Tori Stowe, last week and you may have seen the video I took on our website. The article is in this week’s edition. The idea of using your garden to grow vegetables and fruit trees is not just good for you but also helps reduce our need for store-bought vegetables. Plants absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen. So, in growing your own vegetables you are not only saving money, but are assisting reduce carbon in the atmosphere. And you don’t need a huge garden for the permaculture method.
GREETINGS and congratulations to everyone celebrating a birthday in the week ahead. Happy birthday and many more, especially to Jocelyn Guest, Moira Hilton-Barber, Celesto Scheepers, Andy Jones, Sue Langley, Terry West, Bonita Skipper, Penny Elliott, June Jones, Bev Radue, Jim Reynolds, Lou Coetzee, Nicola Nel, Lara Lloyd, Jenni Reed, Dalys Sparg, Jenny Pincente, Thomas Barnardt, Wayne Reilly, Matthew Thorp, Digby Pocock, Annelien Gouws, Stevie Godson, Charlton Hilpert, June Sheasby, Lynne Nettleton, Devon de Bruin, Colleen Venter, Gareth Kilian, Hannah Robinson, Brian Webber, Daniel Kieck, Barbara Welsh, Allen Thompson, Ruth Jackson, Scott Elliott, Bryan Robinson, Lynne Kirk, Charlene Brown, Ava Peet, Audrey Kuhlane, Dana Pullen and Sue Steenkamp.
BEST wishes for many more happy years of trading – may success always be close to the following businesses, clubs and churches – The Ploughman Pub, R72 Port to Port Courier Services, Kenton Bowling Club, Kuyasa Interact Club and Compudoc Computer.
INTERNATIONAL markets are still in a state of turmoil and currencies have lost value across the board, while commodities have increased. This makes international trade on which SA depends difficult and can see big increases in prices and countries spending more of their depreciating currency to pay for them. On Monday, mineral resources and energy minister, Gwede Mantashe, announced adjusted fuel prices as from midnight on Tuesday, such that the petrol price (both 93 and 95 ULP and LRP) will decrease by 10c per litre, diesel will increase by 20c per litre (0.05% sulphur) and 21c per litre (0.005% sulphur), illuminating paraffin (wholesale) will increase by 20c per litre, maximum LP Gas Retail Price will decrease by 143c per kilogram. At the time of going to press and with last year’s figures in brackets to compare against, the rand was trading at R13.74 to the dollar (R17.10), R19.49 to the pound (R21.53) and R16.80 to the euro (R19.16). Gold is trading at $1,,909.28 per fine ounce ($1,724.81), platinum at $1,191.00 per fine ounce ($854.30) and Brent crude oil at $69.32 per barrel ($40.27).
OUR heartiest congratulations to all couples enjoying a wedding anniversary with good wishes for many more to Ernest and Nikki Bendeman, Neville and Anne Williamson, and Neville and Marjorie Henley.
THOUGHT for the week: “When we are not honest, we are cut off from a significant resource of ourselves, a vital dimension that is necessary for unity and wholeness.”
BEST regards as always,