Ramaphosa announces new lockdown rules for South Africa

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced that South Africa will move from COVID-19 alert level 3 to alert level 2, which will result in a number of lockdown restrictions being eased.

The president made the announcement in an address to the nation on Saturday 15 August 2020, stating that the entire country will be placed on alert level 2 from midnight on Monday 17 August 2020.

This move will see the nationwide ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol and cigarettes being lifted, as well as a number of other changes.

“We have concluded that the lower rate of infections we are experiencing should lead to a relaxation of the restrictions we have had so far,” Ramaphosa said.

He said that nearly all of the restrictions on economic activity would be removed.

These changes include the following:

  • All restrictions on interprovincial travel will be lifted.
  • Accommodations hospitality and tours will be permitted according to approved protocols.
  • Restaurants, bars, and taverns will be permitted to operate according to approved protocols as to times of operations and number of people.
  • Restrictions on the sale of tobacco will be lifted.
  • The suspension of the sale of alcohol will be lifted subject to restrictions.
  • Alcohol will be permitted for consumption up to 22:00 at on-site consumption.
  • Liquor outlets will be allowed to sell liquor from Monday to Thursday from 09:00 until 17:00.
  • Gyms and fitness centres will be allowed to reopen.
  • Restrictions on family and social visits will also be lifted.

Ramaphosa said that social distancing should continue to be observed and masks should continue to be worn.

No gatherings of more than 50 people will be permitted and the curfew between the hours of 22:00 and 04:00 will remain in place, he added.

“It has been an immensely difficult five months and the pandemic has taken a heavy toll on the health of our people, on the economy, and on people’s everyday lives,” Ramaphosa said.

“During this difficult period, what all of us have longed for most of all is to be healthy, restore our livelihoods, and restore our economy.”

Signs of hope for COVID-19 in South Africa

The spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus in South Africa has slowed over the past month, with the number of active cases continuing to decline.

The total number of active cases in the country are at the same level they were at the beginning of July, and the seven-day average for daily new cases across all provinces is declining.

Ramaphosa said that there are signs of hope on the horizon for the spread of COVID-19 in South Africa.

“Over the last three weeks the number of new confirmed cases has dropped from a peak of over 12,000 per day to an average of around 5,000 per day,” Ramaphosa said.

“All indications are that South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the infection point of the curve.”

Ramaphosa said that the data shows the country’s health system would be able to cope with the projected number of infections going forward.

The president warned against a lapse in public awareness regarding COVID-19, however, stating that a second wave of infections could occur and result in strict restrictions being reimplemented.

He urged South Africans to travel only when necessary and avoid large social gatherings.

Alert level 2 infographic

Now read: South Africa’s state of disaster extended

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Ramaphosa announces new lockdown rules for South Africa