The full summary of South Africa’s lockdown levels has been published, showing South Africans exactly what they can expect from the country’s level 4 lockdown. As announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Thursday evening (23 April), the country is moving towards a graded alert level system, to determine how strict the country’s lockdown restrictions will be as it continues to battle the coronavirus pandemic, while re-igniting the economy.
In a national address, the president said a lockdown remains the best way to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, but it cannot be sustained indefinitely. “Beyond the 30th of April, we will begin a phased and gradual return to economic activity,” he said. “There is still much that is unknown about the manner and the spread of the virus among the population,” he said. “Therefore the action taken now must be measured.”
To aid in this measured approach, the country will adopt a risk-adjusted strategy made up of five levels, that will determine the risk and infection rate nationally, and in each province, district and metropolitan area.
The approach has been guided by scientists and experts, who have warned that a sudden end to the lockdown will lead to a massive increase in the number of infections, the president said.
The levels, which denote the level of action needed to stop the spread of the virus, are as follows:
Level 5 – drastic measures are required;
Level 4 – some activity can be allowed, subject to extreme requirements;
Level 3 – the easing on some restrictions on work and social activities;
Level 2 – further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of social distancing;
Level 1 – most normal activity can resume, with caution and health guidelines followed at all times.
Lockdown level 4
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, (CoGTA), Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, has reiterated the various levels at which South Africa will operate, when new restrictions kick in on 1 May.
Currently, the country faces one more week of level 5 restrictions, which has come to be known as a ‘hard lockdown’, where all non-essential workers and businesses are prohibited from leaving their places of residence.
Under these restrictions, hot foods, alcohol and cigarettes have been banned, and only minimal movement is allowed under very specific circumstances.
However, from the end of the month, the country will move down to level 4 restrictions, which opens up significant parts of the economy.
The minister said that all gatherings, apart from funerals and for work, will remain prohibited. This includes conferences, entertainments venues, cinemas, and theatres.
Visiting friends, neighbors and relatives will still not allowed under level 4.
Exercise will be allowed under very strict conditions, the minister said. Gyms will remain closed.
“It will be mandatory to wear cloth face masks when you leave home,” said Dlamini-Zuma.
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.
A summary of the alert levels has been published by the government.
At level 4, extreme precautions will still be taken to limit community transmission and outbreaks, while some activity is allowed to resume.
A curfew will be in effect from 20h00 to 05h00 each day;
Wearing of cloth masks will be mandatory when moving out of residence;
Essential goods will continue to be sold, joined by hardware supplies, winter clothing and heating, and other industry-related items;
Tobacco products will be back on sale;
Certain industries will only be able to open at half capacity;
E-hailing services are able to operate, while public transport is also limited;
No concerts, cinemas or public gatherings will be allowed;
No alcohol will be sold;
Exercise will be limited, with public gyms remaining closed;
Food delivery will be available, subject to the curfew.
Minister of Trade and Industry, Ebrahim Patel, stressed in his address to the nation on Saturday (25 April), that restaurants and fast-food chains are only available for delivery. Sit-down and takeaways – picking up ordered items at the restaurant is forbidden.
According to the business rights group Sakeliga, which was ready to take the government to court over its restrictions on the sale of hot foods, amendments to the current regulations are currently being processed, which is expected to be completed by the end of next week.
BusinessTech asked the office of the presidency for comment on the guidelines but did not receive a response by the time of publication.
You can read the full summary of the restrictions below: