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Ramaphosa announces move to lockdown Level 3 ahead of New Year’s celebrationbs

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President Cyril Ramaphosa announced South Africa will move to lockdown alter level 3 from Monday 28 December, at midnight, in order to contain the spread of Covid-19 which had reached 50,000 infections since Christmas Eve.

Alcohol will again be banned – as it was in the earlier stages of the lockdown – and not wearing face masks in public places will be come a criminal offence. Previously, it was up to business owners to enforce mask wearing.

Under the adjusted level 3 regulations:

  1. All indoor and outdoor gatherings will be prohibited for 14 days from the date hereof, except for funerals and other limited exceptions as detailed in the regulations, such as restaurants, museums, gyms and casinos. These will further be set out by the Minister in regulations and will be reviewed after that period.
  2. Funerals may not be attended by more than 50 people with social distancing.
  3. Every business premises must determine the maximum number of staff and customers permitted at any one time based on our social-distancing guidelines and may not exceed that limit.
  4. The nationwide curfew will be extended from 9pm to 6am. Apart from permitted workers and for medical and security emergencies, nobody is allowed outside their place of residence during curfew.
  5. Non-essential establishments – including shops, restaurants, bars and all cultural venues – must close at 8pm. The list of these establishments will be released shortly.

“From now on it is compulsory for every person to wear a mask in a public space. A person who does not wear a cloth mask covering over the nose and mouth in a public place will be committing an offence,” said Ramaphosa, addressing the nation on 28 December 2020.

“A person who does not wear a mask could be arrested and prosecuted. On conviction, they will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both a fine and imprisonment.”

The decision to ban alcohol was based on alcohol-related accidents and violence which had placed pressure on hospital emergency units.

Alcohol restrictions

The following alcohol restrictions have been imposed:

  • The sale of alcohol from retail outlets and the on-site consumption of alcohol will not be permitted.
  • The prohibition on consuming alcohol in public spaces like parks and beaches remains.
  • Distribution and transportation will be prohibited with exceptions that will be explained by the minister.

These regulations may be reviewed within the next few weeks if there is a sustained decline in infections and hospital admissions.

In effect, the adjusted Level 3 regulations will keep the economy open while strengthening measures to reduce transmission, said Ramaphosa.

With a few exceptions, businesses may continue to operate as long as all relevant health protocols and social distancing measures are adhered to.

Night clubs and businesses engaged in the sale and transportation of liquor will not be allowed to operate.

The Level 3 restrictions will remain in place until 15 January 2021.

22 regional hotspots declared

The following areas have been declared hotspots.

Municipalities defined as hotspots will be subject to additional restrictions until there is a clear and sustained decline in infections.

Following a review of the latest available data on infections and hospitalisations, and consultations with affected provinces, Cabinet has decided that 22 districts be declared coronavirus hotspots.

In the Eastern Cape, these are Chris Hani District, Buffalo City, Amathole District, Alfred Nzo District and the OR Tambo District. These are in addition to Nelson Mandela Bay Metro and the Sarah Baartman District, which have already been declared hotspots.

In KwaZulu-Natal, these are eThekwini, Umgungundlovu District, Ugu District, Harry Gwala District, King Cetshwayo District and Ilembe District.

In Gauteng, the West Rand District, Tshwane, Ekurhuleni and Johannesburg are declared hotspots.

In the Western Cape, the West Coast District, Overberg District, Winelands District, Cape Town, Central Karoo District are hotspots. This is in addition to the Garden Route District.

In the North West, Bojanala District is declared a hotspot area.

And in Limpopo, the Waterberg District and the Capricorn District are declared coronavirus hotspots.

National and provincial parks and other parks where access control measures and entry limitations are already in place may remain open to the public.

Those living in the hotspot districts are strongly encouraged to minimise their travel within the district to essential travel so as to minimise contact with other people.

Travel to hotspot districts should be avoided if possible.

The full speech is available here.