In an effort to curb the rising covid-19 infections, employers are expected to ensure that their employees are wearing masks while performing their duties.
The announcement was made by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday during his address on progress in the national effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.
He said Cabinet took a decision that further restrictions need to be imposed nation-wide from Monday midnight.
“Firstly, we will ensure that there is stricter enforcement of existing alert level 1 restrictions throughout the country during the festive season and beyond.
“This includes the requirement that drivers and operators of any form of public transport must ensure that all passengers wear a mask.
“The managers or owners of buildings, places or premises – including retail stores, shopping centres, and government buildings – are obliged by law to ensure that all customers who enter their facilities or buildings wear a mask.
“An employer must ensure that all employees wear a mask while they perform their duties.
“This places a responsibility on all owners, managers and employers – and on all of us – to ensure that South Africans are safe whenever they are in any of these places.
“The responsible individuals who do not ensure compliance with the regulations by their passengers, customers or employees will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment of up to six months,” he said.
The President said government is taking all these measures in order to reduce the risk of super-spreading events.
He said the current restrictions on the size of gatherings do not do enough to prevent crowding in the current situation where new cases are rising rapidly.
Therefore, gatherings – including religious gatherings, he said may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events.
President Ramaphosa said at all times, and particularly in smaller venues, the total number of people in a venue may not exceed more than 50% of the capacity of the venue.
He said all gatherings must include adequate ventilation, social distancing, wearing of masks and provision of hand-sanitiser.
However, he said due to the potential for transmission, all post-funeral gatherings, including ‘after-tears’ parties, are prohibited.
Beaches and parks
“One of the greatest challenges we need to confront are the huge crowds that flock to beaches and recreational parks on public holidays over the festive season.
In the areas with the highest rate of infection, beaches and public parks will be closed for the duration of the festive season from the 16th of December to the 3rd of January,” he said adding that it will apply to all of the Eastern Cape, as well as to the Garden Route district in the Western Cape.
In KwaZulu-Natal, beaches and public parks will be closed on what are traditionally the busiest days of the season. These days are the 16th, 25th, 26th and 31st of December 2020 and the 1st, 2nd and 3rd of January 2021.
The beaches and public parks of the Northern Cape and the Western Cape – with the exception of the Garden Route – will remain open to the public over the festive season.
Festivals, live music, and live performances at beaches are prohibited. Beaches and parks that are open to the public will only be open between 9am and 6pm.