South Africa eases COVID State of Emergency restrictions – 4 Things you still can’t do!
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gazetted the country’s updated lockdown rules ahead of a planned move to lift the country’s state of disaster.
The rules, which take hold from Wednesday (23 March), give effect to changes announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa in a national address on Tuesday evening.
While the country has now lifted almost all restrictions around the Covid pandemic, there are still a number of specific activities which face limitations.
These restrictions are likely to remain in place on a semi-permanent basis as the government aims to codify them under the National Health Act. These proposed regulations will also act as a new instrument for the government to manage the current Covid pandemic and future pandemics.
Some of the main long-term restrictions which will remain in place for the country include:
South Africans will be required to wear masks in every indoor place – with the exception of children under the age of six. Any person who fails to follow this rule faces a fine or imprisonment not exceeding six months. A person is also required to wear a mask to enter public transport, when entering a government building or other buildings used by the public to obtain goods or services.
Banks and retailers are required to ensure people are at least a metre apart when customers are queuing. This one-metre social distancing rule applies in all settings except in schools.
Attendance at a funeral is limited to 200 people or less, while night vigils and after-tears gatherings remain prohibited. Funerals are also limited to a maximum of two hours and masks are a requirement.
Both indoor and outdoor gatherings are permitted at up to 50% of capacity provided proof of vaccination or a Covid test of not older than 72 hours is shown. For gatherings where no valid vaccine certificates are required, artificial limits of 1,000 and 2,000 people will apply for indoor and outdoor gatherings, respectively. The manager of an event must clearly specify the maximum capacity permitted.