Lockdown wrap: Ramaphosa tighten restrictions on gatherings as Covid-19 cases rise
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A major liquor retail shop in South Africa adhered to President Cyril Ramaphosa’s call not to open on Friday until Sunday.
The adherence came after Ramaphosa returned the country to Covid-19 level 3 lockdown, this week, following a surge in a number of infections and Covid-19 related deaths in the country.
Adding more to the strain, several schools in the country had to be closed due to increasing number of infections especially in Gauteng, Northern Cape and the Free State.
In his budget speech in the Gauteng Legislature, Education MEC Panyaza Lesufi admitted on Thursday that his department had to close 20 schools due infections of teachers and pupils alike.
Announcing the return to level 3, the president said the country was recording more than 3000 infections daily since the start of the third wave.
“What we know from the last two waves of infections, and from experience around the world, is that, when health facilities are overwhelmed, more lives are lost.
“Our priority now is to make sure there are enough hospital beds, enough health workers, enough ventilators and enough oxygen to give the best possible care to every person who needs it,” he said.
Ramaphosa said the massive surge in new infections means that they must once again tighten restrictions on the movement of persons and gatherings, saying the need to enforce compliance more rigorously and the need to take firmer action against those who do not adhere to the regulations.
“In view of the rising infections, we have therefore decided to move the country to Alert Level 3.”
This means that:
The hours of curfew will start at 10pm and end at 4am.
Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 9pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.
All gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used.
This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places.
Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed.
Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed.
The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.
This excludes public holidays.
Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 9pm.
Alcohol consumption in all public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly forbidden.
“Throughout our response to the pandemic, we have sought to take measures that are appropriate and proportionate to the threat of infection.
“If we act too soon, or impose measures that are too severe, the economy will suffer.
“At the same time, if we act too late, or if our response is too weak, we risk losing control of the virus,” said Ramaphosa.
He said the government and the Coronavirus council, have therefore, closely monitored the data, and heeded the advice of our experts and scientists.
“The measures we are putting in place now are appropriate to the level of risk and necessary to save lives. In addition, several important measures remain in place.
“It remains mandatory for every person to wear a face mask that always covers their nose and mouth at all times when in public spaces.
“It is a criminal offence not to do so,” Ramaphosa said