An empty office
  • South Africa entered Adjusted Alert Level 2 on Monday, allowing for bigger crowds and hours more time to drink in bars.
  • Some employers have been eyeing a return to offices.
  • But lockdown regulations on working from home remain unchanged: employees who can work from home must work from home.
  • Where workers have to be present to do their jobs, the time they spend at work must be minimised.
  • For more stories go to

As of Monday, South Africans can drink at bars for two hours more every night and crowds of up to 250 people may gather indoors, as long as they are in venues big enough to keep them well apart from one another, under what is formally known as Adjusted Alert Level 2.

But if you weren't working from the office until now, you're not supposed to go back yet – and your boss is supposed to minimise the time you spend at work.

While the rules for gatherings and the sale of alcohol changed, and curfew shortened by one hour, the other provisions of lockdown were not altered in regulations in force from 13 September. That includes the requirement to wear a mask in public, a ban on any spectators for any sporting event, and a demand that companies only bring workers into offices where there is no other choice.

Under the unchanged rules to "promote physical distancing of employees", employers must:

  • have special measures for employees above 60, or those with comorbidities which put them at high risk from Covid-19
  • restrict face-to-face meetings, and
  • must adopt measures "enabling employees to work from home or minimising the need for employees to be physically present at the workplace".

Employers also remain obliged to force their employees to wear masks, and must provide hand sanitiser. 

South Africa's frequently-adjusted overall framework for alert levels has long suggested that those who can work from home will be at least strongly encouraged to do so – if not forbidden from return to workplaces – for as long as any coronavirus-related restrictions are in place.

On Sunday night, cooperative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma extended the national state of disaster declared for Sars-CoV-2, under which lockdown regulations are made, until at least 15 October.

(Compiled by Phillip de Wet)

Get the best of our site emailed to you every weekday.

Go to the Business Insider front page for more stories.