Lockdown level 4: What will now be allowed

Business Insider SA

    This article was published in 2020. For the Level 4 rules announced on 27 June 2021, please click here.

    • The new rules and regulations for South Africans under lockdown level 4 from May were gazetted on Wednesday night.  
    • Hardware sales are now permitted, but cigarettes not.
    • Fast food will be allowed - but delivery only, and with a strict curfew.
    • For more stories go to

    * This story was updated with adjusted regulations on 29 April. 

    This article was published in 2020. For the Level 4 rules announced on 27 June 2021, please click here.

    From 1 May, South Africans will be allowed to buy winter clothes, and order fast food, but in a U-turn from what was earlier announced by the president, cigarettes will no longer be allowed to be sold. 

    In a briefing on Wednesday, cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said the government has reversed its stance on the sale of tobacco products after considering the negative impact it might have on the spread of the coronavirus. 

    South Africa will embark on a staged reopening of the economy, starting with a level 4 on the first of May, to help slow down the spread of coronavirus, and ensure that health authorities are not overwhelmed, Dlamini-Zuma said. 

    These are the rules of Alert Level 4, which will be adopted from 1 May:

    Masks are obligatory

    Everyone has to wear cloth face masks outside their homes. If you don't yet have a cloth mask, you can wear a scarf or a t-shirt wrapped around your mouth and nose, says Dlamini-Zuma. 

    See also: SA now has rules for mandatory cloth masks. Here’s what to look out for, and what to pay

    Strict curfew

    People are not allowed out between 20:00 and 05:00.

    You have a single chance to move - up to May 7th

    "Any person who was not at their place of residence. or work before the lockdown period and who could not travel between provinces, metropolitan and district areas during the lockdown, will be permitted, on a once-off basis, to return to their places of residence or work and will be required to stay in such place until the end of  Level 4," the regulations read. This "once-off" movement will be permitted from May 1st to May 7th. Long distance buses and taxis will be able to transport these peoples.

    See also: You won't be allowed to move house on May 1 - and 'police permits' are fake news


    There is a limit of three people per private vehicle, and 70% capacity in taxis.  All taxis and e-hailing services such as Uber and Bolt must be sanitised daily, and hand sanitisers must be provided. 

    Can you visit your friends and family?

    No "recreational" visits are allowed.

    Can you attend church or other public gatherings?


    Fast food: 

    The sale of takeaways will be permitted for delivery only - from fast food outlets and restaurants. 

    Restaurants can open for food delivery services only, between 09:00 to 19:00. 

    UPDATE: These fast-food chains will open tomorrow

    What you can buy from a retailer, wholesaler or spaza shop:

    • Any food product, including non-alcoholic beverages and animal food. But the in-store sale of cooked hot food is still prohibited
    • All children's clothing
    • Winter clothing for adults
    • Bedding
    • Heaters
    • Toilet paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms.
    • Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use, household cleaning products, and personal protective equipment.
    • Personal ICT equipment including computers, mobile telephones and other home office equipment.
    • Products for the care of babies and toddlers
    • Stationery and educational books
    • Personal toiletries, including  hand and foot care products, haircare, body and face care products, roll-ons, deodorants, and dental care products.
    • Medical and hospital supplies, medicine, equipment and personal protective equipment.
    • Fuel, including coal, wood, paraffin and gas.
    • Airtime and electricity.
    • Hardware, components and supplies.
    • Components for vehicles undergoing emergency repairs.
    • Textiles required to produce clothing, face masks, and other personal protective equipment.

    See also: 'We’re not expecting trouble’: Book stores will sell novels under Alert Level 4

    Stores have to ensure that clients' temperatures are tested, hand sanitisers must be available and measures must be in place to facilitate social distancing.

    Where the number of customers cannot be accommodated at once then measures such as a ticket system and a defined limit of time in the store per customer should be implemented instead of the physical queuing of customers.

    Are you allowed to buy alcohol?



    You can walk, cycle and run between 06:00 and 09:00 daily, within a 5km radius from your house. 

    Gyms or other facilities where people gather for exercise will remain closed. Gathering in groups for exercise, such as when running or cycling, will also be prohibited.

    See also: Should you wear a mask while you run? Your lockdown exercise questions answered

    Businesses that are allowed to be open:

    • Retailers, spaza shops, hardware shops and wholesalers that sell the products mentioned above.
    • Construction and related services: Civil engineering for public works projects, critical public works construction, road and bridge projects and other public works civil engineering projects. Critical maintenance and repairs are also allowed.
    • Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing: All agriculture, hunting, forestry, fishing and related services, including the export of agricultural products permitted.
    • All electricity, gas and water supply companies.
    • Information and communication services: All telecommunication services and infrastructure; information and communication technology services for all private and business customers; and postal services and courier services for all products and services allowed under Level 4. 
    • Media and entertainment services: Online services; productions for local broadcast; and live streaming of "the creative sector" in support of Covid-19; and newspapers and broadcasting
    • Financial and business services: Banks, the "payments" sector, insurers, savings and investment companies, medical schemes and outsourced administration are among the sectors that can operate. .
    • Private security services 
    • Implementation of payroll systems
    • Chauffeur services as well as the rental of motor vehicles, driven vehicles, machinery and equipment, and of goods to support other Alert Level 4 services.
    • Call centres, for local and all international markets, may operate.
    • Other professional services may operate only where work-from-home is not possible, and only to support other Level 4 services
    • Accommodation services not permitted, except for quarantine and essential services.
    • Mining and quarrying: Coal production for Eskom scaling up to full employment. All other mining starting in batches scaling up towards 50% employment. Open-cast mining scaling up to full employment;
    • Repair and related emergency services permitted: Tow trucks and vehicle recovery services; emergency repair work, including plumbers, electricians, locksmiths, glaziers, roof repair work.
    • Emergency automobile repairs for everyone.
    • Production, manufacturing, supply, logistics, transport, delivery, critical maintenance and repair in relation to the rendering of permitted services including components and equipment.
    • All medical and veterinary services 
    • Cleaning, sanitation, pest control, sewerage, waste and refuse removal services.
    • Recycling of glass, paper, plastic, tyres and metal is permitted at 50% capacity. Informal recyclers can start working again.
    • All social work, counselling, services supporting gender based violence, care and relief activities permitted
    • Wildlife management, antipoaching, animal care and veterinary services
    • Funeral and cremation services.
    • Trade union essential staff for workers covered by Level 4.

    Which manufacturing will be now be allowed?

    Some manufacturing will restart, but in some cases not all employees will be allowed back at once.

    Factories that produce goods that can be sold under Level 4 can return with all their staff - apart from for a couple of exceptions.

    Only a quarter of the workers at manufacturers of winter clothing, bedding and heaters can return at first, but can be scaled up to 50% during Level 4.

    Automotive manufacturing, including components, can scale up in phases to 50% employment, and the same applies for stationery production, as well as cement, construction materials and hardware.

    Manufacturing of paper and paper products, excluding stationery, is permitted to scale up to full employment.

    Manufacturing of packaging, including glass, plastic bottles and containers is permitted to scale up to full employment, along with petroleum smelters, refineries and furnaces.

    All other manufacturing can scale up to 30% employment.

    Strict new rules for workplaces

    South Africa now has official workplace rules to combat Covid-19, which were also gazetted on Wednesday night. They include that employees must either be 1.5 metres apart or must have "physical barriers" between them. 

    READ | The back-to-work rules: Toilets must be watched and two masks for every employee

    Can domestic workers start working again?

    Live-in domestic staff and childminders in private households can return to work as part of Level 4 of the national lockdown. 

    Staff employed by private households who care for the sick, mentally ill, elderly and people with disabilities will also be allowed to work, according to new regulations.

    Are debt collectors allowed to operate during Level 4?


    Children can move between parents

    Children can move between divorced parents if they are in the same city or municipalities, provided they have a court order, a parenting plan (registered with the family advocate) or a permit issued by a magistrate.

    Can I buy or sell a car?

    Yes, car sales are allowed during Level 4. 

    Funeral rules

    You can only move between a province, city or district if you are the deceased’s spouse/partner, child, child-in-law, sibling, parent, step-parent or grand-parent – and you have to obtain a permit. Only 50 people can attend a funeral and night vigils are banned.

    All borders remain closed

    Except for cargo.

    Can you go to your hairdresser or nail salon?

    No. Minister of trade and industry Ebrahim Patel said the risk of transmission with these services is too high.

    See also: Hairdressers, salons stay shut – but you can buy products to do manicures at home from Friday

    Can you replace your ID now?

    Yes. This is now allowed, and the deeds office as well as other licensing and permitting will now be open along with the provision of birth and death certificates.

    * This story was updated with adjusted regulations on 29 April. 

    This article was published in 2020. For the Level 4 rules announced on 27 June 2021, please click here.

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