In response to the recent decline in infections across the country (the average new daily infections rate is currently at 29 percent lower than the preceding week and 48 percent lower than the week before) the Cabinet has decided to ease restrictions and move the country from Adjusted Alert Level 3 and place it on Adjusted Alert Level 2.
The latest amendment to the Disaster Management Act was gazetted by the Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta), Dr Dlamini-Zuma, and the amended regulations were officially announced by the President of the Republic, Cyril Ramaphosa, on 12 September 2021, and are effective from 13 September 2021.
The notable amendments on the latest regulations are as follows:
Curfew (Movement of persons)
Movement of persons is now prohibited between 23H00 until 04H00 daily. An exception is made for
* persons who have been granted permission, through directions issued by the relevant Cabinet member or a permit which corresponds with Form 7 of Annexure A, to perform a service other than a service related to one of the following activities:
- night vigils;
- after funeral or cremation gatherings;
- night clubs;
- the land borders that remain closed;
- passenger ship for international leisure purposes, excluding small crafts, in line with health and border law enforcement;
- attendance of any sporting event by spectators;
- exclusions relating to public transport; and
- exclusions relating to educational services.
* persons attending to a security or medical emergency; and/or
* persons travelling to or from an airport during restricted hours of movement - provided they are in possession of valid proof (boarding pass or copy of airline ticket).
Inter-provincial travel is also permitted.
The closing times for the following establishments, whether indoors or outdoors, is 22H00:
- museum, galleries and archives;
- public swimming pools;
- beaches and public parks;
- game parks, botanical gardens, aquariums and zoos;
- gyms and fitness centres;
- restaurants; bars, shebeens and tavern;
- venues hosting auctions;
- venues hosting professional sport; and
- venues hosting faith-based, religious, social, political and cultural gatherings.
Mandatory Public Spaces Protocols
The wearing of face masks is still mandatory for every person when in a public space, public transport, and places of employment. An exception is provided for persons who undertake vigorous exercise in a public space provided they maintain a social distance from any other people.
Attendance of funerals
The attendance of funerals or cremations is limited to a maximum number of 50 persons. Where a venue is unable to accommodate 50 persons, only 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used. This is subject to health protocols and social distancing measures being adhered to.
Night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are still not permitted, and the duration of a funeral or cremation is restricted to a maximum of two hours.
Gatherings are permitted subject to strict health protocols and social distancing measures being adhered to. Indoor and outdoor facilities must display a certificate of occupancy which indicates the maximum number of persons the facility may hold.
Faith-based, religious, social, political, and cultural gatherings are permitted subject to the limitation of a maximum number of 250 persons for indoor venues and 500 persons for outdoor venues. Where a venue is unable to accommodate the prescribed number of persons, only 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used. The convener of any such gathering must ensure compliance with the prescribed number of persons that may be in attendance, and any person attending such an event, who knows or reasonably ought to have known or suspected that the prescribed number of persons has been exceeded, commits an offence.
Workplace gatherings, for purposes of work, are also permitted subject to strict health protocols and social distancing measures being adhered to.
Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses are permitted to use the full capacity of the available rooms for accommodation. Restaurants, bars, shebeens, and taverns are also permitted to operate subject to a limitation of a maximum number of 250 persons for indoor venues and 500 persons for outdoor venues, with the social distancing measures being adhered to. Where a venue is unable to accommodate the prescribed number of persons, only 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used. Night clubs are still not permitted to operate.
Gatherings in conferencing, dining, gyms, fitness centres, casinos and entertainment facilities are permitted subject to a maximum number of 250 persons for indoor venues and 500 persons for outdoor venues. Where a venue is unable to accommodate the prescribed number of persons, only 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used.
Gatherings for sporting activities, both professional and non-professional, by recognised sports bodies, is allowed subject to curfew time and directions for sports matches issued by the Minister of Sport after consultation with the Minister of Health. Spectators are still not allowed at such venues.
Eviction and demolition of places of residence
Eviction of persons and demolition of places of residence is not permitted unless a competent court has granted an order authorising it. The eviction or demolition order may be suspended or stayed by the court until after the lapse or termination of the national disaster unless the court is of the opinion that it is not just and equitable to do so after considering inter alia the need, in the public interest, for all persons to have access to places of residence and basic services; the impact of the disaster on the parties; whether the party applying for the order has taken reasonable steps in good faith, to make alternative arrangements with all affected persons, including but not limited to payment arrangements that would preclude the need for any relocation during the national state of disaster and the prejudice to any party of a delay in executing the order and whether such prejudice outweighs the prejudice to the person who will be subject to the order.
Partial reopening of borders
Travelling to and from the Republic is allowed subject to health protocols being strictly adhered to. The land borders which are fully operational will remain as such and the land borders which were closed will also remain closed.
International air travel is restricted to the following airports: OR Tambo International Airport; King Shaka International Airport; Cape Town International Airport; Lanseria International Airport; and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport. Long-haul flight departures and landings at these airports are permitted during curfew hours.
International travellers arriving at airports must provide a negative COVID-19 test certificate, which must have been obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel. Failure to provide such a certificate will result in a traveller being required to do an antigen test at their own cost and, if they test positive, they will be required to quarantine at their own cost, for a period of 10 days.
All commercial seaports will remain open and small crafts will be allowed entry into seaports.
Sale, dispensing and transportation of liquor
The sale of liquor by licenced premises for off-site consumption, is permitted from 10H00 to 18H00, from Monday to Friday, excluding public holidays. The sale of liquor by licenced premises for on-site consumption is also permitted until 22H00. The consumption of alcohol in public places, other than licenced on-site premises, is not permitted.
Registered wineries, wine farms, micro-breweries and micro-distillers are permitted to offer tasting and selling of wine and other brews for on-site and off-site consumption until 22H00.
The transportation of liquor is permitted.
Transportation of cargo
Rail, ocean, air, and road transport is permitted for the movement of cargo to and from other countries and within the Republic, subject to national legislation and any directions issued by the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition
The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.