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SA ease lockdown regulations

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Cabinet took a decision to relax adjusted level 3 regulations following the decline in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths.

With effect from today, February 2, the hours of the curfew will now be from 11pm to 4am and now with Faith-based gatherings allowed, but subject to health protocols.

Making the announcement during his nation’s address or also referred to as family meeting, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that establishments would need to close by 10pm to allow their customers and staff to return home by curfew.

He emphasised that gatherings may not exceed 50 people for indoor venues and 100 persons for outdoor venues, adding that where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used.

“Public places such as beaches, dams, rivers, parks and public swimming pools will be reopened subject to health protocols.

Restrictions on the sale of alcohol eased.

The sale of alcohol by licensed premises for off-site consumption will be permitted from Mondays to Thursdays, from 10am to 6pm.

Duty-free shops, registered wineries, wine farms, micro-breweries and micro-distilleries will be able to sell alcohol for off-site consumption during their normal licensed operating hours.

The sale of alcohol by licensed premises for on-site consumption – such as restaurants and taverns – will be permitted throughout the week from 10am to 10pm.

“These changes have been made possible by the significant reduction in COVID-19 hospital admissions across all provinces, reducing the pressure on beds and hospital personnel.

“I want to call on all of us to drink responsibly so that we do not experience a spike in trauma cases or an increase in infections due to reckless behaviour.

“As we ease restrictions once again, the responsibility on each and every one of us as individuals becomes even greater.

“Let us remember that despite the clear progress we have made, the number of new cases is still high and there is an ever-present danger of a resurgence.

“It is therefore, necessary to maintain the country on coronavirus alert level 3, indicating the continued high risk of transmission,” he said.

Prevention measures will remain in place

However, the President said social gatherings, political events, traditional council meetings and gatherings at sports grounds would not be permitted.

He said that more than 50 people may not attend funeral services, and there needs to be social distancing, hand sanitising and mask wearing. It remains compulsory for every person to wear a mask in a public space.

Avoiding crowded places

Being in crowded places or spending time in closed, unventilated spaces dramatically increases the risk of contracting the virus.

For this reason, the President urged the nation to avoid indoor spaces wherever possible and open windows to limit the spread of the virus through the air.

Research has shown that the risk of transmission of the virus is almost twenty times higher indoors than in outdoor settings.

“We continue to ask all South Africans to keep a safe distance of 1.5 metres from other people at all times.

“We urge employers to allow their employees to work from home wherever possible, and not to risk transmission where it is not absolutely necessary to do so,” he said.