Last night President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country is moving to Level 1 lockdown restrictions, This after Covid-19 cases peaked dramatically during December and January, caused by a “second-wave” of infections. the country has now clearly emerged from the second wave, with fewer than 10,000 new infections in the past week, compared to 40,000 in the last week of January and 90,000 in the last week of December.
Many regulations have been eased, including:
- museums, galleries and archives
- public swimming pools
- beaches and public parks
- game parks, botanical gardens, aquariums and zoos
- gyms and fitness centres
- venues hosting auctions and sport
- venues hosting faith- based. religious, social, political and cultural gatherings
All of the current restrictions on alcohol sales are lifted, and normal trade will be allowed – except for sales during curfew hours, which won’t be allowed.
Religious, social, political and cultural meetings will be allowed, provided that people can stay at least 1.5 metres away from each other, and that other health protocols are adhered to.
Indoor gatherings may not exceed 50% of venue capacity, and may allow up to a maximum of 100 people.
Outdoor gatherings may also not exceed 50% of venue capacity, but can allow up to a maximum 250 people.
All workers may return to the office, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures. However, those that are able to work from home must do so. At workplaces, there must be “strict” compliance of health protocols and social distancing measures, and the return to work must be phased in, and “done in a manner that avoids and reduces risks of infection”.
Night vigils or other gatherings before or after funerals are still not permitted. The duration of a funeral is restricted to a maximum of two hours.
Attendance of a funeral is limited to 100 persons or less.
The new Level 1 rules do not change anything in terms of borders. The 33 land borders that are closed will stay closed, while the twenty open borders will remain open. The five airports that are permitted to allow international travel remain OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria airports. Lanseria airport north of Johannesburg, and the Kruger Mpumalanga airport, have joined those allowed to accept passenger flights from abroad. That means direct flights may use five airports; the other three are OR Tambo, Cape Town International, and King Shaka outside Durban.
No spectators are allowed at sports matches. International sport events involving countries with a low or medium Covid-19 infection and transmission rate continue to be allowed.
“Controlled visits” by members of the public are again allowed to older persons’ residential facilities, hospitals and other health establishments, correctional centres, remand detention facilities, police holding cells and military detention facilities.