Booze, pools, and late(r) nights – Covid lockdown eased

South Africans can enjoy less harsh lockdown restrictions. But adherence to strict health protocols is still to be maintained. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Monday evening, sharing some good news for a country that has been under a more stringent level three of the national lockdown for nearly two months. 

The country has recorded its lowest rate of infections since the beginning of December. 

The national health department reported 4 525 new Covid-19 cases, while 213 more deaths were confirmed on Sunday.  

Ramaphosa said: “The average rate of infections has steadily been coming down over the last three weeks, indicating that we have now passed the peak of the second wave.”

After meetings with the national coronavirus command council (NCCC), the president’s coordinating council (PCC), and Cabinet it was decided to steadily ease the number of restrictions under adjusted level three.

This is how things are changing:

  • The national curfew has been pushed back from 11 pm to 4 am. 

“Establishments, where people go for entertainment, must close at 10 pm, allowing enough time for customers and staff to return home when curfew time commences,” explained Ramaphosa. 

  • Faith-based gatherings will be allowed, but will be “subject to health protocols’. Indoor venues cannot exceed 50 people, while outdoor venues 100 people. Social distancing must be maintained at all times – if not possible, no more than 50% of the venue’s capacity is allowed. 
  • Beachgoers are allowed to visit their favourite spots as public places will be reopened. This includes beaches, dams, rivers and swimming pools. 
  • Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will be eased, “allowing the sale of alcohol by licensed premises for off-site consumption from Monday’s to Thursday’s, from 10 am to 6 pm”.

Duty-free shops, registered wineries, wine farms, microbreweries, and micro-distilleries will be able to sell their products during their normal operating hours. 

Ramaphosa also announced that “the sale of alcohol by licensed premises for on-site consumption at restaurants or taverns will be permitted throughout the week between 10 am to 10 pm. 

  • Masks remain mandatory in public places with Ramaphosa reminding people that maintaining social distancing and adhering to all health protocols is also still mandatory.

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Eunice Stoltz
Eunice Stoltz is a general news reporter at the Mail & Guardian.

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