AFRICAN MIRROR REPORTER
IN an effort to prevent an upsurge in infections due to expected heightened activity during the Easter weekend, South Africa has reintroduced slightly stricter measures designed to keep the pandemic levels low.
In a special address to the nation, Ramaphosa announced that SA will stay at lockdown Level One with the following restrictions:
- Sales of alcohol for off site consumption will not be permitted from Good Friday to Easter Monday.
- On site sales at bars, taverns and restaurants will be allowed, subject to licensing conditions
- Religious gathering will be restricted to 250 indoor and 500 people outdoors. This is an increase from previous restrictions of 150 indoors and 250 outdoors. Sleepovers at church are not allowed.
- Other gatherings are also restricted to 250 and 500 people outdoors.
Ramaphosa emphasised that the following measures remain in place.
- The 12 midnight to 4am curfew.
- Beaches, dams and will remain open, subject to social protocol
- Funerals remain restricted to 100 people with the service restricted to two hours.
- Inter-provincial travel is permitted but South Africans are advised to limit their travel.
The president said: “In just a few days, the country will begin the annual Easter break. For many, this will be a welcome moment to pause and rest, whether from work or from our studies, and from the pressures of the last months. Many of us have made plans for the upcoming long weekend. Some of us will be heading out of town; others will be visiting friends and family. Many of us will be attending gatherings and celebrations.
“For millions of people, this is also a time of religious observance. While the rate of transmission remains stable, we cannot let our guard down. This is a time when caution is needed more than ever. The reality is that greater movement of people, interprovincial travel, greater use of public transit and gatherings present a great risk of an increase in infections.
“Over the last few days, we have sought the advice of experts and consulted with representatives of provincial and local government and traditional leaders on what measures should be put in place over the coming long weekend to prevent a new outbreak of infections.
We have considered several factors, including presentations by the religious community on precautionary measures they have put in place for the anticipated gatherings. Given the relatively low transmission levels, we have decided to keep the country on coronavirus Alert Level 1.”
Ramaphosa said the measures regarding the size of gathering will be reviewed in the next 15 days.
“We continue to follow the principle that restrictions should not be more severe than is necessary to contain the spread of the virus. We continue to be guided by data on the epidemiological situation and by expert advice and wide consultations with social partners.
We will closely monitor the situation and will respond swiftly to any signs of a resurgence,” Ramaphosa said.