Stadiums open south africa
(Photo by MB Media/Getty Images)
  • Stadiums and sporting venues in South Africa are allowed to open to spectators.
  • This is the latest amendment to the Disaster Management Act which governs lockdown regulations.
  • “Spectators at the venue of sports events are permitted but limited to 750 persons or less for indoor venues and 2,000 persons or less for outdoor venues,” the amendment, published on Monday, notes.
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Venues hosting sporting events in South Africa will now be allowed to reopen to spectators, following an amendment to the Disaster Management Act which governs lockdown.

South Africa’s stadiums have been off-limits to sports fans since the country first entered lockdown in March 2020. Now, almost 19 months later, a move to Adjusted Alert Level 1 lockdown amid a drop in active Covid-19 cases will allow spectators to return to sporting venues.

Amendments to the regulations, signed by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Sunday, removed the “attendance of any sporting event by spectators” from the list “specific exclusions”.

Sport South Africa
Government gazette updating rules for spectators at sporting venues (Published on Monday 11 October 2021)

While the Minister of Sport, Arts & Culture, Nathi Mthethwa, is ultimately responsible for providing further clarity on specific sporting events taking place in South Africa, the new regulations give facilities a right to reopen.

“Spectators at the venue of sports events are permitted but limited to 750 persons or less for indoor venues and 2,000 persons or less for outdoor venues 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 may be used, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures,” the gazette, published on Monday, notes.

Stadium owners and operators will have to ensure that all health and safety measures are met.

The updated lockdown laws come amid a drop in new Covid-19 infections, the reopening of important international travel routes, the upcoming holiday season, and the launch of a digital Covid-19 vaccine certificate.

The certificate was officially launched on Friday. The department of health specifically mentioned access to “sport and recreation events” as a key use of the digital vaccine certificate. Stadium owners and operators may choose to only allow fully vaccinated spectators inside.

“What we’re looking at, is are there other soft kind of incentives [to be vaccinated]. For instance… people are hungry for entertainment, for music festivals, to go to Orlando stadium to go and watch a soccer match,” Phaahla said back in September, addressing the issue of vaccine hesitancy and the potential for mandatory policies in the private sector.

Previously, attendance at sporting venues was strictly limited to journalists, radio, television crews, security personnel, emergency medical services, and other necessary employees.  

With attendance at sporting events now allowed, night clubs and after funeral gatherings are still strictly prohibited under Adjusted Alert Level 1 lockdown.

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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