CAPE TOWN – As of today all non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will be closed at 10pm, with the curfew starting at 11pm and ending at 4am.
All gatherings will also be limited to a maximum of 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors and where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers, no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced these new restrictions on Sunday, as the government attempts to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Ramaphosa said that an increase in gatherings was directly responsible for the increased transmission, with funerals and school sporting events highlighted as problematic.
For the past three weeks South Africa has seen an increase in new infections, with 3 755 new cases recorded in the last 24 hours, which represents a 11.9% positivity rate.
Former chair of the Covid-19 Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC), Professor Salim Abdool Karim, has welcomed these new restrictions and says government is correct to move the country to alert level 2.
In an interview on SAfm, Karim said “We are now on the upward trajectory of our third wave, it's been like this for 2 to 3 weeks. Ideally we would like to see a smaller number than the 100 that’s been forward at the moment, a smaller number makes it easier to follow up if there’s an outbreak than if it’s a larger gathering.”
He said with large gatherings there's a higher likelihood that someone might be infected and that will increase the number of infections.
“That's why you have to reduce the number of gathering sizes. The move to alert level 2 and restrictions on gatherings is a right move from government,” he said.
The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) also welcomed the interventions put in place by the government to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
"Everyone needs to play their part when it comes to employing non-pharmaceutical measures to mitigate the effects of a third wave over the coming months. This will require every citizen taking individual responsibility for their own health and safety as we await the mass roll out of vaccines," the association said.
Meanwhile, the EFF said it was concerned that the months preceding the local polls on October 27, will be characterised by further lockdown restrictions on public gatherings.
The party says this will negatively affect political parties’ ability to campaign and rally their supporters ahead of the elections.
“It is our firm belief that the declaration of the elections means there can never be restrictions that seek to dictate to political parties how they conduct their political campaigns, in relation to their constituencies. Any attempt to do that would amount to fascism and the suppression of democratic activity, precisely because restrictions may affect electoral outcomes,” the EFF said.