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Pres Ramaphosa moves SA to Covid-19 alert level 3


President Cyril Ramaphosa moves South Africa to Covid-19 alert level 3 with stricter restrictions to curb the massive surge in new infections.

“The massive surge in new infections means that we must once again tighten restrictions on the movement of persons and gatherings.

“We need to enforce compliance more rigorously and we need to take firmer action against those who do not adhere to the regulations.

“In view of the rising infections, we have therefore, decided to move the country to alert level 3,” he said adding that this will take effect later on Tuesday evening once the regulations have been gazetted.

The President made the announcement on Tuesday during his nation address on the developments and progress in the national effort to contain the Covid-19 pandemic.

Moving to Covid-19 alert level 3, means that the hours of curfew will start at 10pm and end at 4am.

Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 9pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.

All gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, President Ramaphosa said no more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue might be used.

“This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places. Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed.

“Night vigils, after-funeral gatherings and ‘after-tears’ gatherings are not allowed. The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday,” he said.

However, this excludes public holidays; while alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 9pm.

“Alcohol consumption in all public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly forbidden. Throughout our response to the pandemic, we have sought to take measures that are appropriate and proportionate to the threat of infection.

“If we act too soon, or impose measures that are too severe, the economy will suffer. At the same time, if we act too late, or if our response is too weak, we risk losing control of the virus.
“We have therefore closely monitored the data and heeded the advice of our experts and scientists. The measures we are putting in place now are appropriate to the level of risk and necessary to save lives,” he said.

Several important measures remain in place

The President said it remains mandatory for every person to wear a facemask that always covers his or her nose and mouth at all times when in public spaces, adding that it is a criminal offence not to do so.

“The owners and managers of public buildings, centres, shops, restaurants, taxis and buses all have a responsibility to ensure that people on their premises or in their vehicles wear masks.

“They must ensure that the appropriate social distancing measures are in place and adhered to.

“It is important to remember that it is a criminal offence if the number of people on these premises exceeds the maximum number of customers or employees allowed for there to be proper social distancing,” he said.