Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gazetted the latest amendments to the Disaster Management Act, giving effect to the move to lockdown level 3 announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night.
The gazette officially moves the country to an adjusted lockdown level 3, and makes changes to the rules and regulations in place to protect the country from a second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic.
It also marks the third set of regulations associated with this particular lockdown level.
Ramaphosa said that the move aims to limit super-spreader events further, and will adjust previous level 3 regulations to keep the economy as open as possible.
It will also allow government to focus on the social distancing measures, and aims to ease the pressure on hospitals and health workers.
The change follows meetings held by the president and his cabinet as part of the National Coronavirus Command Council on Sunday, and come as the country surpasses 1 million cumulative Covid-19 infections and record daily increases.
A further 7,458 new cases were recorded on 28 December, taking the cumulative total since the start of the pandemic to 1,011,871. The country has reported 27,071 deaths from the virus, according to the latest data from the Department of Health.
“We have let down our guard, and unfortunately we are now paying the price,” Ramaphosa said. “We can only weather this storm if we immediately and fundamentally change our mindsets.”
Under lockdown level 3, every person will be confined to their place of residence from 21h00 to 06h00, and will not be allowed out unless they are granted exemption from a relevant cabinet minister via regulation (essential services), or need to attend to a medical emergency.
Businesses will have to close their doors at 20h00. This includes:
- Museums, galleries and archives;
- Gyms and fitness centres;
- Venues hosting auctions; and
- Venues hosting professional sport.
Wearing face masks is now mandatory for every person in a public place.
Any person who fails to comply with a verbal instruction by an enforcement officer to wear one is committing an offence and may face prosecution.
This could results in a fine, or jail time not exceeding six months, or both.
You will not be allowed to use public transport or enter any public buildings without a mask. Employers are not allowed to let their employees work without a face mask.
The only exception in the gazette is that a face mask is not required when doing ‘vigorous exercise’ – however it is up to the minister of health to determine what constitutes this type of exercise.
Businesses and venues
Business and venues have to determine the area of floor space on their premises and use this information to determine the exact number of customers and employees allowed at any given time.
Social distancing measures need to be enforced at all times, and sanitisers must be available for use.
Failure to follow these regulations is an offence and can result in a fine or imprisonment, or both.
The following are closed to the public:
- Night clubs;
- Swimming pools (except for professional training);
- Bars, taverns and shebeens;
- Public parks, including facilities there, where there is no access control;
- Beaches, parks and dams in hotspot areas.
Attendance at funerals is limited to a maximum of 50 people, and the duration is limited to 2 hours.
Night vigils are not allowed, and after-funeral gatherings are banned.
At funerals, attendees must wear a mask, and venue capacity may not exceed 50%.
All gatherings, including faith-based gatherings are prohibited for 14 days. This includes political and traditional council events.
Gatherings for the purposes of work are permitted, but need to follow strict social distancing measures.
- Cinemas, theatres, casinos, museums, libraries, sporting grounds, restaurants and auctions are allowed to continue operating, but are limited to 50 people or less indoors and 100 people or less outdoors, and are subject to the same strict social distancing measures.
At no point can the number of people exceed 50% of a venue’s capacity, if it is too small to take 50 people.
- Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts and resorts are allowed to take full capacity of available rooms for accommodation, with social distancing measures in place.
However, dining and entertainment facilities at these places must follow the same guidelines as above.
- Supermarkets, shops, stores and pharmacies are limited only to 50% of floor space.
Sport event, both professional and non-professional are allowed, but must follow the new regulations which include:
- No spectators are allowed to attend matches;
- Only the required number of players, match officials and support staff are allowed;
- Journalists, TV crews, security personnel, emergency services and venue employees are allowed at the venue;
- International events may only be held with teams from low or medium risk countries;
- Any other directions issued by the sport or health minister.
Travel is still permitted. It is up to the ministers of transport and health to determine the specific directions for this sector.
However, the regulations specify that these departments need to prepare for the return of South Africans to work, and need to lay out the plans for domestic air travel and other public transport systems.
Some specifics for public transport include:
- Bus and taxi services may not carry more than 70% capacity for long-distance travel (>200km), and may carry 100% capacity for any other trip.
- Drivers may not allow any passengers to travel without a mask.
Alcohol sales are banned, for both off-site and on-site consumption.
Consumption of alcohol in public spaces is prohibited, and wine tasting and the selling of liquor to the public in any form is not allowed.
Transporting liquor is also banned, except where it’s for the use in the manufacturing of hand sanitisers and household cleaning products, for export purposes, or for storage.’
Clarity on regulations
Nkosazana Damini-Zuma clarified a few points of confusion around the lockdown regulations, particularly around travel and social gatherings.
All social gatherings are prohibited for 14 days – there is no distinction between a public gathering and private gathering. All gatherings are affected. This means private parties and gatherings of friends are not allowed for the stipulated period. This will be reviewed after the 14 days are up.
Inter-provincial travel is allowed – people are away on holiday and need the freedom to return home. So inter-provincial travel is permitted “for now”, Dlamini-Zuma said.