EXPLAINER | Liquor sales, new curfew: What Level 1 lockdown will look like

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the country will move to Level 1 lockdown at midnight on Sunday. 
  • Due to less pressure on hospitals and reduced daily new Covid-19 infections, Ramaphosa said the country would move to a lower lockdown level. 
  • News24 takes a look at the changes and what will be permitted under Level 1. 

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Wednesday evening the country will move to a Level 1 lockdown at midnight on Sunday.

He also introduced relaxed curfew and liquor sale rules as well the reopening of the country's borders. 

In a televised address, Ramaphosa said as the country opened up, the greatest challenge - and its greatest task - was to ensure it avoided a second wave of Covid-19 infections. 

READ | Ramaphosa calls on citizens to use the Covid-19 app - here's how it works

"In many cases, the second wave has been more severe than the first. [And] several countries have had to re-impose a hard lockdown."

He added due to reduced pressure for hospital beds, and reduced daily new positive infections, the country was able to move to a lower lockdown level. 

"We have succeeded in overcoming the worst phase of this epidemic while protecting the capacity of our health system." 

News24 took a look at everything that changed, and will now be permitted under lockdown Level 1: 

New midnight curfew 

The controversial nationwide curfew will now be enforced from midnight to 04:00 every day. 

Sale of liquor now also permitted on Fridays 

Ramaphosa said the sale of liquor would now be permitted Mondays to Fridays from 09:00 to 17:00. Liquor sales will remain for on-site consumption in licenced establishments which will be required to adhere to the national curfew. 

Gatherings permitted at 50% of normal capacity 

Social, religious, political and other gatherings would be permitted, as long as the number of people did not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue, Ramaphosa said. This will, however, be capped at 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 for outdoor ones. 

Venues allowed to operate at 50% of capacity 

Ramaphosa said venues for exercise, recreation and entertainment - such as gyms and theatres which were limited to no more than 50 people - would now be allowed to accommodate up to 50% of the venue's capacity as determined by available floor space, subject to social distancing and other health protocols. Existing restrictions on sporting events, however, remain in place. 

READ | SA's borders open on 1 October - here's what you need to know

Relaxed funeral restriction measures 

Ramaphosa said a maximum of 100 people would now be permitted at funeral gatherings as it posed a higher risk for viral transmission, while night vigils remained prohibited. 

International borders reopen 

Ramaphosa said the country's international borders would reopen from 1 October for business, leisure and other travel. However, travel may be restricted to and from certain countries that are deemed high risk for coronavirus infections. 

All international travellers will also be required to:

  • Upon arrival, present a negative Covid-19 test result not older than 72 hours. 
  • Have a coronavirus test if presenting Covid-19 symptoms during screening upon arrival. 
  • Enter into mandatory quarantine facilities, at their own costs, where necessary. 
  • Download the Covid Alert South Africa mobile application on their smartphone.  

Only King Shaka, OR Tambo and Cape Town international airports will reopen for international travel. And only a limited number of border posts will remain open at South Africa's land borders. 

IEC allowed to visit correctional centres and old age homes 

Ramaphosa said, where required for the purposes of voter registration or special voting, the Electoral Commission of South Africa (IEC) would be allowed to visit correctional centres, health facilities, old age homes and other similar institutions.

Government services to operate at full capacity 

Ramaphosa said the Department of Public Service and Administration would shortly issue circulars to all public servants on the measures that would enable the return of all areas of government to full operation safely and without undue delay.

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President Ramaphosa has punted the idea of mandatory Covid-19 vaccinations for South Africans. This is:
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The right thing to do. We desperately need more South Africans vaccinated to prevent further mutations and restore normality in our lives.
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A risky strategy. Compulsory vaccinations may have unintended consequences and damage our rollout campaign.
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