Everything you need to know about South Africa’s new level 3 lockdown

Following the announcement that South Africa is now in an adjusted level 3 lockdown, government has gazetted the regulations by which South Africans must abide.

This involved amending the Disaster Management Act to implement the measures president Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday night.

The decision to return South Africa to a higher lockdown level is due to the second wave South Africa is experiencing, which is already resulting in daily new case numbers comparable to the first wave.

Ramaphosa cited four goals which guided government’s decisions when determining the new lockdown regulations:

  • Minimise the risk of super-spreader events.
  • Decrease unsafe interactions between people.
  • Increase the implementation of the five key prevention measures – social distancing, masks, hand hygiene, symptom checking, and testing.
  • Decrease the burden on healthcare services so that resources can be redirected to meet the needs of COVID-19 and other patients.

“Unless we act now and unless we act decisively, the number of new infections will far exceed what we experienced in the first wave, and thousands more people will lose their lives,” said Ramaphosa.

Key regulations which have been gazetted are detailed below.


Selling, dispensing, and distributing liquor for both off-site and on-site consumption is prohibited.

Consuming liquor in public places – including at registered wineries, wine farms, and similar establishments, is also not allowed.

The transportation of liquor is prohibited except in the following cases:

  • If it is in relation to alcohol required for reasons such as use in hand sanitisers and soaps or for industrial use.
  • If it is to be exported.
  • If it is being transported from manufacturing plants to storage facilities.
  • If it is being transported to licensed premises for safe keeping.

Curfew and businesses

South Africans may no longer leave their residence between 21:00 and 6:00 unless they have a specific exemption – such as providing essential services – or if they need to deal with a medical emergency.

Businesses including cinemas, theatres, casinos, museums, gyms, and restaurants must close at 20:00 to provide ample time for employees to return to their residences.

Additionally, businesses and venues must determine how many customers and employees they can host at any one time while complying with social distancing measures, and may not exceed this number.

Bars, taverns, shebeens, night clubs, public parks without access control, and public swimming pools are all closed to the public – with one exception to this being that professional training may still continue at public swimming pools.


All South Africans must now wear a mask when in a public area.

Failure to do this after being instructed by a law enforcement official is now an offence, and can result in the guilty party being fined, serving time in jail for up to 6 months, or both.

The only exception is when partaking in vigorous exercise – but the definition of vigorous exercise must still be defined by the minister of health.


Government has banned gatherings for 14 days – including faith-based gatherings, political gatherings, and traditional council events.

Funerals may continue, however, and are limited to 50 people and a duration of 2 hours.

Night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are both banned.

The following may remain open, but with no more than 50 people indoors, or 100 people outdoors:

  • Cinemas
  • Theatres
  • Casinos
  • Museums
  • Libraries
  • Sports grounds
  • Restaurants
  • Auctions

If the above entities cannot house 50 people under normal circumstances, they must not exceed 50% of their capacity.

Accommodation such as hotels, bed and breakfasts, and lodges may operate at full capacity, but must ensure social distancing is maintained.

Any dining and entertainment facilities at these accommodation locations must be limited to 50 or 100 people, depending on whether they are indoor or outdoor facilities respectively.

Retailers and pharmacies must limited their customer numbers to 50% of their floor space.


Sports events may continue to operate, but are subject to the following regulations:

  • No spectators may attend matches.
  • Only the necessary number of players, match officials and support staff are allowed at venues.
  • Journalists, TV crews, security personnel, emergency services and venue employees are allowed at venues.
  • International events may only be held if the other team(s) are from low or medium risk countries.

Any other directions issued by the sport or health ministers must also be followed.


Travel is still permitted, and the ministers of transport and health will make further decisions on this topic.

The above ministers will need to take into account the return of South Africans to their workplaces, and must therefore plan accordingly both in terms of domestic air travel and public transport systems.

The regulations add the following restrictions over and above whatever the transport and health departments decide:

  • Bus and taxi services must limit their passenger numbers to 70% of capacity if travelling over 200km.
  • These services may operate at 100% capacity for any other trip.
  • Drivers may not allow any passengers to travel without a mask.

The full regulations are below.

Now read: South Africa returns to level 3 lockdown – Alcohol sales banned

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Everything you need to know about South Africa’s new level 3 lockdown