Amended COVID Regulations for the Festive Season

On 14 December 2020, President Ramaphosa called for a “Family Meeting” as he addressed South Africa in his newfound role as the “father of the nation”. He appeared calm and collected and informed the public of the status quo with regard to the pandemic and the upcoming rules and regulations for the festive season.

Status Quo

The infections have surpassed 8 000 a day, which is now dubbed of being our “second wave”, but this second wave is solely based on the unruly and irresponsible behaviour of the youth. The age group between 15 and 19 is the one primarily affected as beach parties and matric rage events with more than 1 000 participants have sent an infection wave from the beaches of KZN and the Eastern Cape right up to Gauteng.

The duty to wear masks in public is neglected not only at the above events but right across the spectrum alongside the coast with causing infection spikes especially in the Nelson Mandela Bay area and along the Garden Route.

Regulations during Festive Season

Ramaphosa and the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) this time acted and reacted to the current situation reasonably and responsibly – contrary to the first months of lockdown where lunatics like Cele and Dlamini-Zuma ruined the economy for personal gain and morbid self-indulgence.

Instead of drowning the whole country in national lockdown levels, COVID Hot Spots on district-level have been identified as follows:

  • Sarah Baartman District
  • Garden Route District
  • Nelson Mandela Bay District

For South Africa, in General, the main Festive Season Regulations beginning 16 December 2020 and ending 3 January 2021 are:

  • A curfew between 23h00 and 4h00
  • Alcohol shop sales Mondays – Thursdays, 10h00 – 18h00
  • Restaurant opening hours 9h00 – 22h00
  • Wine Estates may sell wine Monday to Saturday, 10h00 – 18h00
  • Restaurants only to be occupied by 50% of certified max. occupancy
  • Max Gathering of people limited to 100, unless where max occupancy is below 250
  • Cigarette Sales not banned
  • Nightclubs remain closed
  • Beaches open between 9h00 and 18h00

For the Hot Spot Districts the Regulations are tighter:

  • A curfew between 22h00 and 4h00
  • Alcohol shop sales Mondays – Thursdays, 10h00 – 18h00
  • Restaurant opening hours 9h00 – 21h00
  • Restaurants only to be occupied by 50% of certified max. occupancy
  • Max Gathering of people limited to 100, unless where max occupancy is below 250
  • Beaches and Public Parks are closed in the Eastern Cape and on the Garden Route

Other Regulations

The beaches and Public Parks in KZN  will be closed on 16, 25, 26 and 31 December 2020 as well as on 1, 2 and 3 January 2021. All 34 Land Borders remain closed. Night vigils are prohibited. Cigarette Sales are not banned and Nightclubs remain closed.

Vaccine Distribution

A lot of talks have been around the first vaccines to arrive and President Ramaphosa assured that South Africa is on the front-line of receiving the Vaccines, but he omitted one major fact: South Africa missed the first payment window to join COVAX, a global vaccine access initiative.

The head of health regulation and compliance, as well as former acting director-general for the Department of Health Dr Anban Pillay, confirmed the payment was yet to be made as the department was awaiting a range of approvals from National Treasury.

This despite statements by Finance Minister Tito Mboweni, during a Bloomberg Invest Africa webinar on 24 November, that “the R500-million is in the pocket, is in the consortium”. To the contrary, South Africa missed the deadline of the first payment window and the Solidarity Fund is now expected to step in and make a payment to the COVAX initiative of an estimated ZAR 300m, or 15% of the total envisaged spend.

The COVAX facility financing rules require a government guarantee for the remaining 85% and Minister Mboweni admitted that he would have yet to find a further ZAR 4.5bn, which would be in exchange for enough doses of whichever vaccine became available for 10% of the country’s 56-million population. It is understood this first tranche of vaccine doses would be made available to healthcare workers and other frontline workers.

So far countries such as Namibia, Botswana, Libya and Mauritius have confirmed their participation in COVAX, joining dozens of EU countries and the UK.

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