Maputo — The Mozambican government on Wednesday announced that it has ordered the closing of the country's most popular beaches for the next 15 days, because of general disobedience of the restrictive measures imposed to halt the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
On 23 September, President Filipe Nyusi announced the re-opening of the beaches, but only for recreational activities and not for mass gatherings and consumption of alcoholic drinks. Swimmers should leave the beaches no later than 17.00.
However, the following weekend crowds did gather at beaches and the ban on alcohol was widely flouted. On 28 September, the government warned that, if the situation did not improve, the government would once again close the beaches.
Many beach-goers paid no attention and last weekend the crowds gathered again with little sign of social distancing, and plenty of alcohol.
So on Wednesday, at a meeting of the Council of Ministers (Cabinet), the government carried out its threat, announcing the closure for a fortnight of 18 of the country's most popular beaches. These are Costa do Sol and KaTembe, in Maputo city; Ponta de Ouro and Macaneta, in Maputo province; Bilene and Xai-Xai, in Gaza; Barra, Tofo and Guinjata, in Inhambane; Estoril, Macuti and Ponta Gea, in Sofala; Zalala, in Zambezia; Fernao Veloso in Nampula; and Wimbi, Marrenganhe, Sagal and Inos, in Cabo Delgado.
This is not a blanket ban. Lesser known beaches, further away from the urban centres, are not mentioned, and presumably remain open.