President Cyril Ramaphosa placed South Africa into an adjusted Alert Level 3 lockdown on Monday, December 28 as COVID-19 cases continue to rise and hospitals become overwhelmed.

This new level includes updates on rules and regulations governing movement, gatherings and alcohol sales in the lead up to and following the new year. Airports already open will remain fully functional, so will accommodation and leisure travel.

Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma published the new gazette on December 29, providing more detail on the new restrictions which will be in place until January 15, 2021.

The curfew has been extended from 4am to 6am, and all residents must be inside their place of residence at 9pm. The only exceptions are those given special permission by Cabinet or those attending to a security or medical emergency.

Closing time for public spaces has moved up to 8pm, whether they are indoors or outdoors. These include:

– cinemas
– gyms
– theatres
– restaurants
– casinos
– museums and galleries
– venues hosting auctions
– venues hosting sport

A maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 outdoors applies to the above public spaces.

A key update by government is the wearing of face masks which is now compulsory by law in all public spaces.

Those who fail to comply with a verbal instruction to wear the mask from a police officer, is liable to a fine or imprisonment for no longer than six months. However, those who are doing vigorous exercise are exempt – according to the new regulations. They are required to keep a safe distance of 1.5-metres from the next person.

All social gatherings are prohibited for two weeks, until January 15.

Beaches, parks, dams, lakes and rivers are closed in areas declared hotspots for two weeks. All public swimming pools are closed to the public across the country.

The alcohol ban has been reinstated with all alcohol sales prohibited. While wine farms were previously excluded, this has been revoked and for two weeks all alcohol sales from bottle stores, wine farms and restaurants are banned.

Transporting alcohol is also banned, except for those manufacturing hand sanitiser, exporting alcohol, moving from manufacturing plants or licence holders moving for safe storage.

Important points include:

– The closure of beaches and restrictions on times of operation do not apply to fishermen for fishing purposes. who are in possession of a permit or exemption granted in terms of the Marine Living Resources Act, 1998 (Act No. 18 of 1998).

– All beaches, dams, lakes and rivers. inclusive of all recreational facilities at these places, are closed to the public.

– All public swimming pools. including recreational facilities at such places, are closed to the public.

– Game parks. botanical gardens, aquariums and zoos where access control measures and entry limitations are already in place will remain open from 9am to 6pm to the public but gatherings at public parks are not permitted.

– All hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses are allowed full capacity of the available rooms for accommodation, with patrons observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other when in common spaces.

Read the full list of amendments HERE.

Picture: Unsplash

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