In his Family Meeting on 12 September 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa’s lockdown regulations will be relaxed. As the country encounters new daily infections below 5 000, a decline of 50% compared to only 2 weeks ago, the third wave of Covid-19 cases seems to lose its impact and justifies lockdown to be downgraded to an amended Alert Level 2. The following rules apply as from today, 13 September 2021:
- Curfew applies to the reduced period between 23h00 and 04h00.
- Non-essential establishments such as bars and gyms will need to close at 22h00 to give patrons and staff sufficient time to get home.
- All gatherings will now be limited to 250 people indoors, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to 500 people. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these amounts of people, then no more than 50% of the floor space may be used while adhereing to social distancing.
- The sale of alcohol for off-site consumption will now be permitted from 10h00 – 18h00 from Monday-Friday. On-site consumption will be subject to licensing permissions until 22h00.
- Funerals remain restricted to no more than 50 people.
- Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.
The new Alert Level as well as its respective conditions and restrictions will be reviewed in two weeks. By that time the new electronic vaccine passport should have been launched. The vaccine passport will be electronic and to be accessed via smart devices showing tamper-proof QR Codes in order to serve as proof for vaccination. It will only allow the issue if the person is registered on the EVDS Database.
The president warned again that existing regulations remain in place – including the compulsory wearing of masks, social distancing and a ban on after-funeral gatherings. “It is a criminal offence not to do so, and the managers of shops and restaurants as well as drivers of taxis and buses have a responsibility to ensure that their customers wear masks and that the appropriate social distancing measures are in place.”