On Friday, South Africa’s national COVID-19 alert level will be lowered to level 4. This means that some activity will be allowed to resume, subject to extreme precautions.
President Cyril Ramaphosa recently announced the national lockdown will start to be eased next week, and will be replaced by a 5-level alert system.
Level 5, which is equivalent to the current strict lockdown, means that drastic measures are required to contain the spread of the virus to save lives.
While the lockdown will be eased somewhat next week, many restrictions which are currently in place will hold.
South Africa’s borders will remain closed to international travel and no travel will be allowed between provinces, except for specific purposes.
The public must still stay at home, other than for essential personal movement and doing essential work.
All gatherings, apart from funerals and for work, will remain prohibited. This includes conferences, entertainments venues, cinemas, and theatres.
Concerts, sporting events, and religious, cultural and social gatherings will also not be allowed until it is deemed safe. Restaurants, bars and shebeens will also remain closed.
Good news is that some prominent restrictions will be lifted. People will be allowed to exercise outside under certain conditions, and the sale of cigarettes will be permitted.
The range of goods that may be sold will also be extended to incorporate certain additional categories.
The image below provides a summary of the alert levels.
Details about the new risk-adjusted strategy
Today, the risk-adjusted strategy to open the economy recently unveiled by Ramaphosa will be officially launched for public comment and consultation.
Minister of Cooperative Governance, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, and Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, will provide details on this strategy.
This included the classification of industries for the reopening of the economy.
The main difference between the current lockdown and the level 4 restrictions coming next week, the minister said, is that more industries will be allowed to return to work.
She reinforced that from Friday, people must still remain at home and are not allowed to visit family and friends.
While exercising will be allowed under strict conditions, gyms, running clubs and sports clubs remain closed.
She added that it will now be mandatory to wear a cloth mask when you leave your home.
Social distancing must be observed at work and screening must be implemented to protect employees.
She said the restrictions on three people in a private car and a maximum capacity of 70% in taxis remain.
Dlamini-Zuma said regulations will be released to further clarify the rules detailed above.
Permissions and Restrictions
The graphic below from the government provides an overview of the permissions are restrictions allowed under level 4.