Level 4 restrictions bring some relief for restaurants, gyms and cash-strapped workers

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President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation had a heavy political undertone. (GCIS)
President Cyril Ramaphosa’s address to the nation had a heavy political undertone. (GCIS)
  • Adjusted Level 4 lockdown regulations will give restaurants and gyms some relief.
  • Restaurants can now allow 50 patrons for sit-down meals.
  • The Covid-19 temporary employee relief scheme (TERS) will also be extended to aid businesses hit hard by the restrictions.

Restaurants can now open for sit-down meals, the government's employees' relief scheme is set to be extended, but alcohol remains banned.

During a televised national address on Sunday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced these adjusted Level 4 regulations as South Africa battles a third coronavirus wave.

Restaurants may not accommodate more than 50 people at a time or, for smaller venues, more than 50% of their normal capacity.

READ | 'It's a good step' - Restaurants welcome reopening, albeit under strict protocols

Gyms and fitness centres may also open.

Ramaphosa said agricultural livestock and game auctions would be allowed, subject to the conditions outlined in regulations.

As the country remains on level 4 lockdown, all social, political, religious and other gatherings remained prohibited.

The curfew remains in place from 21:00 until 04:00, and only those with permission to do so may leave their homes during this time.

Alcohol sales remain banned, and schools will remain closed until 26 July.

IN FULL | Ramaphosa keeps SA on Level 4 as he slams 'ethnic mobilisation' of Zuma unrest

Wearing a mask when in public remained mandatory, Ramaphosa said.

The new regulations will be in place until 25 July.

"Since the onset of the pandemic, our national response has been guided by the latest available evidence and the advice of experts. Here is what we know. We know that reducing the instances where people are in close proximity to others helps to contain infections. We know that the coronavirus spreads at funerals, at office meetings, at parties, at family occasions, and at restaurants and taverns.

"That is why, at adjusted alert Level 4, we have had to prohibit religious, social and political gatherings. We also know that as more people move, the virus moves with them."

He added the Unemployment Insurance Fund had decided to extend the Covid-19 temporary employee relief scheme (TERS).

This will come as a relief for businesses hit hard by Level 4 restrictions.

Since its inception last year, the Covid-19 TERS scheme has already provided more than R60 billion to protect the jobs of 5.5 million workers.

"The details of the extension will be published shortly following the finalisation of the full scheme, which will include further details on who is eligible for this support," Ramaphosa said.

Business licences and permits that expired between March 2020 and June 2021 will remain valid until 31 December 2022.

New business licences or permits that were issued from 1 July will also be valid until 31 December 2022, and no licence fees will be payable.

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