SA back to level-4 lockdown: Booze banned, no gatherings

President Cyril Ramaphosa has placed South Africa back on a strict level-4 lockdown, with restrictions – including a ban on all alcohol sales – in place for the next 14 days.

SA back to level-4 lockdown: Booze banned, no gatherings
President Cyril Ramaphosa

The restrictions may then be extended further, pending a review of the situation.

Key highlights of the new restrictions are:

  • All gatherings, including political, cultural, social and religious gatherings, are banned.
  • Funerals and cremations will be permitted but attendance may not exceed 50 people. Night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are not allowed.
  • Public spaces, beaches and parks will remain open. However, no gatherings will be permitted in such places;
  • The curfew hours are now 9pm to 4am. All “non-essential establishments” must close by 8pm.
  • Sale of alcohol for both onsite and offsite consumption is prohibited. “The prohibition will ease the pressure placed on emergency services,” the president said.
  • Travel in and out of Gauteng is severely restricted. Those returning home from other provinces may do so.
  • Visits to old age homes and care facilities will be restricted.
  • Restaurants and eateries may only sell food for takeaway or delivery, “because patrons cannot wear masks in these establishments” while eating and drinking.
  • School holidays are brought forward, with schools closing from Wednesday. “All schools will be expected to be closed by the end of the week on Friday.”
  • In-person classes at tertiary institutions will cease. Residences will remain open.

No restrictions have been placed on companies, meaning most businesses “should continue to operate at full capacity, as long as they observe all health protocols in the workplace”.

The new regulations are designed to allow as much economic activity to continue as possible while containing the spread of the virus, the president said. However, he encouraged employers to allow employees to work from home if possible.

“In considering what new measures we have to take we have drawn on international best practice. Our priority is to break the chain of transmission by reducing person-to-person contact, like we did with the first wave and the second wave.”

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