(Getty)
  • South Africa moved from Alert Level 3 to Level 1 on Sunday night.
  • This means a later curfew, and the lifting of almost all restrictions on alcohol sales.   
  • Visits to old-age homes and jails are permitted again.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

  • After two months of Alert Level 3, South Africa moved to Level 1 on Sunday evening. 

    In his address to the nation on Sunday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said that the country has now clearly emerged from the second wave, with fewer than 10,000 new infections in the past week, compared to 40,000 in the last week of January and 90,000 in the last week of December.

    This has allowed a new easing of regulations, including:

    Later curfew

    Curfew, across the country, is now from midnight to 04:00. Apart from permitted workers, those attending a security or medical emergency, and those who are traveling to or from an airport, no person may be outside their place of residence during this time.

    Being outside your home during curfew could land you a six-month prison sentence, and/or a fine.

    Closing time for the following establishments is 23:00:

    • cinemas
    • theatres
    • casinos
    • museums, galleries and archives
    • public swimming pools
    • beaches and public parks
    • game parks, botanical gardens, aquariums and zoos
    • gyms and fitness centres
    • restaurants
    • venues hosting auctions and sport
    • venues hosting faith- based. religious, social, political and cultural gatherings

    Booze sales

    All of the current restrictions on alcohol sales are lifted, and normal trade will be allowed – except for sales during curfew hours, which won’t be allowed.

    Though, as Ramaphosa promised, sales restrictions on alcohol have been lifted, the restrictions on consumption have not. That leaves in place the threat of six months in jail for the "consumption of liquor in public places, except in licensed on-site consumption premises".

    In other words, drink in a park or on a beach at any time, and you are liable for arrest.

    Night clubs will remain closed

    Gatherings permitted

    Religious, social, political and cultural meetings will be allowed, provided that people can stay at least 1.5 metres away from each other, and that other health protocols are adhered to.

    Indoor gatherings may not exceed 50% of venue capacity, and may allow up to a maximum of 100 people.

    Outdoor gatherings may also not exceed 50% of venue capacity, but can allow up to a maximum 250 people.

    Workplace rules

    Gatherings at a workplace for work purposes are allowed, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures.

    The regulations still state that anyone who is able to work from home must still do so. "However, persons will be permitted to perform any type of work outside the home. and to travel to and from work and for work purposes under Alert Level 1."

    At their workplaces, there must be "strict" compliance of health protocols and social distancing measures, and the return to work must be phased in, and "done in a manner that avoids and reduces risks of infection".  

    Funerals

    Night vigils or other gatherings before or after funerals are still not permitted. The duration of a funeral is restricted to a maximum of two hours.

    Attendance of a funeral is limited to 100 persons or less and if the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other, then not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.

    Borders

    The new Level 1 rules do not change anything in terms of borders. The 33 land borders that are closed will stay closed, while the twenty open borders will remain open.

    The five airports that are permitted to allow international travel remain OR Tambo, Cape Town, King Shaka, Kruger Mpumalanga and Lanseria airports.

    The Lanseria airport north of Johannesburg, and the Kruger Mpumalanga airport, have joined those allowed to accept passenger flights from abroad.

    That means direct flights may use five airports; the other three are OR Tambo, Cape Town International, and King Shaka outside Durban.

    Failure to wear a mask remains a criminal offence.

    The wearing of masks in public places is still mandatory

    Sport matches

    No spectators are allowed at sports matches. International sport events involving countries with a low or medium Covid-19 infection and transmission rate continue to be allowed.

    Passenger ships still banned

    Travel on passenger ships for international leisure purposes, excluding small crafts, are still not allowed.

    Initiation practices

    These remain permitted, subject to the submission of a "risk adjusted plan" to government.

    Post-initiation celebrations ("imigidi ") are permitted, but must comply with to the same limits as on other gatherings.

    Visiting allowed

    "Controlled visits" by members of the public are again allowed to older persons' residential facilities, hospitals and other health establishments, correctional centres, remand detention facilities, police holding cells and  military detention facilities. 

    The Independent Electoral Commission may also be allowed to visit these institutions, for voter registration and or special voting.

    South African municipal elections will be held in coming months.

    Vaccination progress

    Ramaphosa said more than 67,000 healthworkers were vaccinated in 10 days. As a new batch of the 80,000 Johnson & Johnson vaccines arrived in the country this weekend, the number of vaccination sites will increase from 17 to 49 sites next week.  Of these, 32 will be in public hospitals, and 17 in private hospitals.

    Ramaphosa also announced that South Africa will get another two million vaccines from Johnson & Johnson, bringing the total order to 11 million.

    Some 2.8 million of these vaccinations will be delivered in the second quarter of 2021, and the rest throughout the year.

    He expects that phase two of the vaccination drive – which will include the elderly, essential workers, those with comorbidities and those who work and live in institutional settings – will start in late April.

    He added that two million people now use the Covid-19 alert app.

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