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South Africa bans super-spreader events, closes beaches in response to spike in COVID-19 second wave infections


SOUTH Africa has announced extraordinary festive season restrictions, banning “super-spreader” events, closing beaches in the Eastern Cape and restricting alcohol sales in response to a big spike in the second wave of COVID-19 infections.

President Cyril Ramaphosa.

SA president Cyril Ramaphosa announced the new tougher measures in a special address to the nation.

Ramaphosa said two new areas – the Sarah Baartman and the Garden Route – have been designated as COVID-19 hotspots, because of the sharp spike in infections. The Nelson Mandela Bay was declared a hotspot on December 3.

He said the new restrictions include: 

  • The curfew will now be from 11am to 4pm and applies to Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
  • Restaurants, bars and taverns have to close at 10pm
  • Sale of alcohol will only be permitted 10am to 6pm from Monday to Thursday.
  • Wineries will be allowed to offer tastings at the weekends.

Further restrictions – targeted at “super spreader” events include:

  • Gatherings may not be attended by 100 people indoors or 250 outdoors. The total number of people may not exceed 50% capacity of the venue. There must be social distancing, wearing of masks and sanitizers
  • Post funeral events, referred to as ‘After Tears”,  are prohibited.
  • All the beaches in Eastern Cape and the Garden Route will be closed from 16 December  to January 3. Those in the Northern Cape and the Western Cape, with the exception of the Garden Route, will remain open.
  • In KwaZulu-Natal, the beaches will be closed on December 16th, 25th , 31st and January 1st, 2nd and 3rd. 
  • Music festival and live events are prohibited
  • Parks will only be open between 9am and 6pm. Only parks with access control will stay open.
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Ramaphosa also stressed that there will be stricter enforcement of existing level one restrictions. He warned those who do not implement these measures would face a fine or six months imprisonment. These include;

  • Drivers of public transport who must ensure that passengers wear a mask. 
  • Managers of buildings who are obliged by law to ensure that customers must wear a mask. 
  • Employers who must ensure that all employees wear masks while they perform their duties. 

Ramaphosa said the new and tougher measures were necessary during the festive season. “The festive season poses the greatest threat to the health of the nation and recovery of the economy. If we don’t do things differently, we will greet the new years, not with joy but sorrow. 

Unless we do things differently this will be the last Christmas for some South African,” he said.

By The African Mirror