'We have to take precautions': Dlamini-Zuma encourages social distancing at Easter events

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Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. (GCIS)
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. (GCIS)
  • Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has urged faith-based groups to avoid travelling to events unnecessarily to avoid the spread of Covid-19.
  • Due to a relaxation of restrictions, 250 people are permitted to attend indoor gatherings and 500 people can attend outdoor gatherings.
  • However, social distancing and mask-wearing will still have to be observed, Dlamini-Zuma said.

While larger Easter gatherings may be permitted, congregations will still be expected to practise social distancing and mask-wearing, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma said.

On Thursday, Dlamini-Zuma unpacked the regulations for the Easter weekend, which President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday.

He said that, amid fears of a third wave of Covid-19 infections, retail liquor sales would be prohibited over the long Easter weekend.

He added that restrictions on religious gatherings would be relaxed so that 250 people would be allowed indoors and 500 outdoors. 

Dlamini-Zuma said this relaxation of restrictions would apply to all gatherings - not just religious services. Despite the relaxed regulations, she stressed that gatherings would still need to enforce social distancing of 1.5 metres between attendees, and masks would need to be worn at all times.

"Last year, faith-based gatherings were not allowed over at Easter because of the stage at which we were with the virus. This year, the numbers are down, and they're still coming down, and so it's important that this year religious gatherings should take place during this holy weekend and subsequently," she said.

READ | Easter gatherings, vaccine plans, booze curbs: 9 takeaways from Ramaphosa's address

However, Dlamini-Zuma said venues that were not big enough to hold 250 people with social distancing, would need to operate at 50% capacity.

The minister warned South Africans against travelling unnecessarily over the weekend, and urged them to keep to their regular places of worship, instead of attending services at different venues or "sleeping over".

Inter-provincial travel would still be allowed over the weekend, she added.

Dlamini-Zuma said the regulations on gatherings would be reassessed after 15 days.

"We've learned during December … the more movement there is of people, the more gatherings there are, the more possibility of the virus spreading. So having learnt from what happened in December, we have to take precautions.

"We know that during Easter weekend there is lots of movement of people, there are lots of gatherings, besides faith-based gatherings… so that's why we have to take these precautions. We hope that all of us will remember that it's people who move the virus," Dlamini-Zuma said.


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