Thursday | 07 May | 2020
By Dr Eugene Brink
Pres Cyril Ramaphosa introduced the risk-adjusted strategy in the country’s response to the novel Corona virus, named Covid-19. In short, this means that the full lockdown that has been in place since March 27 will be eased in stages, reports City Press.
“We will implement what we call a risk-adjusted strategy through which we take a deliberate and cautious approach to the easing of current lockdown restrictions,” Ramaphosa said.
This strategy consists of five phases. Thus, whereas the country operated on level 5 between 27 March and 1 May, we have now moved to level 4 where certain exemptions exist. Level 1 will be the closest phase to complete normalcy.
“Level 4 means that some activity can be allowed to resume, subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks,” Ramaphosa explained.
Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, described this level as when the virus is spreading at a moderate to high rate with the healthcare system having little to moderate readiness.
“Under level 4 only certain industries may reopen and some workers will be allowed to go back to work. People may buy more goods than before, but movement is still highly limited. It is by no means a return to normal,” City Press reports.
Business Insider SA reports that since 1 May South Africans have again been able to buy winter clothes and order fast food. Fast food can be delivered between 09:00 and 19:00 to people’s homes. However, sit-downs in restaurants and collecting takeaways are prohibited. Wearing masks will also be compulsory and if you don’t have one, you can wear a scarf or T-shirt wrapped around your mouth and nose.
Solidarity has visited three large shopping centres since 1 May and this regulation seems to be implemented with gusto. Several unmasked shoppers were turned away at the entrances.
People are also not allowed out between 20:00 and 05:00, but outdoor exercise is allowed between 06:00 and 09:00, provided you do it alone and within a 5 km radius from your house. Again, South Africans have already begun seizing this opportunity over the last few days. Gyms and other exercise facilities will remain closed during level 4.
You can buy the following from a retailer, wholesaler or spaza shop:
- any food product, including non-alcoholic beverages and animal food, but the in-store sale of cooked hot food is still prohibited
- all children’s clothing
- winter clothing for adults
- toilet paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms
- hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use, household cleaning products, and personal protective equipment
- personal ICT equipment including computers, mobile telephones and other home-office equipment
- products for the care of babies and toddlers
- stationery and educational books
- personal toiletries, including hand- and foot-care products, haircare, body- and face-care products, roll-ons, deodorants, and dental-care products
- medical and hospital supplies, medicine, equipment and personal protective equipment
- fuel, including coal, wood, paraffin and gas
- airtime and electricity
- hardware, components and supplies
- components for vehicles undergoing emergency repairs
- textiles required to produce clothing, face masks, and other personal protective equipment (PPE)
The sale of alcohol, tobacco and cigarettes is still off limits, and strict rules apply for funerals. “You can only move between a province, city or district if you are the deceased’s spouse, partner, child, child-in-law, sibling, parent, step-parent or grand-parent – and you have to obtain a permit. Only 50 people may attend a funeral and night vigils are banned,” reports Business Insider SA.
Moreover, workplaces are governed by a raft of rules. Small and large companies have distinct sets of rules. Those with more than 500 employees must, for instance, submit a written risk assessment and accompanying policy to the Department of Labour.
In small organisations, employees must either be 1,5 metres apart or have physical barriers separating them. Those employees showing physical symptoms of Covid-10 may not work. The wearing of masks (each employee must receive two fabric ones, free of charge if necessary) and sanitising your hands is obligatory. Workers at large firms should also be screened for a fever, cough, sore throats, redness of eyes and difficulty breathing when they report for work.
Car sales are slowed during level 4, but debt collectors may not operate now and hairdressers and nail salons will remain closed.
Al Jazeera, 1 May 2020, “ ‘People need to eat’: South Africa eases coronavirus lockdown”, https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2020/05/eat-south-africa-eases-coronavirus-lockdown-200501072927207.html.
Business Insider SA, 29 April 2020, “The back-to-work rules: Toilets must be watched and two masks for every employee”, https://www.businessinsider.co.za/workplace-covid-19-safety-measures-for-sa-businesses-going-back-to-work-2020-4.
Business Insider SA, 30 April 2020, “Lockdown level 4: What will now be allowed”, https://www.businessinsider.co.za/lockdown-level-4-what-is-now-allowed-2020-4.
Elri Voigt, 1 May 2020, “Level 4 lockdown: what you can and can not do under revised regulations”, https://city-press.news24.com/News/level-4-lockdown-what-you-can-and-can-not-do-under-revised-regulations-20200430.
* All information was correct at the time of publication.