Personal care services such as hairdressers, beauty services and tattoo parlours will remain closed under level 3 of the national lockdown, according to new regulations.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, gazetted the rules on Thursday ahead of a media address.
While much of the economy will start to open up next month, some exclusions will remain for health reasons. Cigarette sales remain prohibited, but South Africans will again be able to buy alcohol, subject to some restrictions.
Restaurants, bars and taverns will also remain closed, except for the delivery or collection of food or alcohol in some cases. Conferences, events, entertainment and sporting activities remain banned.
An urgent court bid has been launched at the Western Cape High Court to allow hairdressers to be able to trade, under strict conditions during lockdown, News24 previously reported.
Lynne Corby, owner of Sculptures Hairdressing in East London, told Fin24 that she had to rely on the UIF TERS benefit to pay 12 of her staff but it has been challenging to get funds. She has also had to pay the remaining six of her staff who do not qualify for UIF benefits from her own pocket. "If this carries on much longer I will have to close business," she said.
During a briefing on Thursday afternoon Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel said there are some activities like hairdressing which would remain restricted in the short term - until "better protocols" are in place for them to start trading again.
"We want to work with them immediately. Not wait very long to see what can be done to make those places safer," he said. Government is considering what other countries have done in these industries, he added.
During the same briefing, Dlamini-Zuma said that government was in discussions with salons to try determine how to incorporate social distancing measures in those spaces. "Once that is resolved, the matter will be concluded and they will probably be opened," she said. Thereafter more regulations can be put in place to enhance the current level three regulations in place, she added.
The minister said the peak of Covid-19 infections in South Africa is still on the horizon. As the country transitions to level 3, efforts must be ramped up to contain the spread of infections and prevent deaths.