A SIGH of relief for many as the restrictions on Covid-19 are not as hard as expected.
This follows the address by President Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa tonight, albeit the case numbers are increasing exponentially.
Curfew has been re-visited from 11pm to 4am. No announcement was made on banning of cigarettes’.
Restrictions, including on alcohol sales and large gatherings all kick in from midnight.
These are “super-spreader events” as the Pres considers events such as large gatherings.
“The current restrictions on the size of gatherings do not do enough to prevent crowding. Therefore, gatherings, including religious gatherings, may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor events,” said Ramaphosa.
On the issue of alcohol he said: “The sale of alcohol from retail outlets will be permitted only between 10am and 6pm, from Monday to Thursday. Alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly prohibited. We will not allow large numbers of people congregating in any one place without proper controls or proper protocols being in place,” he said.
The bone of contention is the closure of some beaches in the Western Cape namely Garden Route and Sarah Baartman and KwaZulu-Natal, where dates for visiting beaches were made especially at predominantly popular spots, including some parks.
“This will apply specifically to all of the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route district of the Western Cape. In KwaZulu-Natal, beaches and public parks will be closed on what are the busiest days of the season — on December 16, 25, 26, 31, and on January 1 to 3,” he said.
Ramaphosa said: “This means that non-essential establishments, including restaurants and bars, will have to close at 10pm so that staff and patrons can go home before the enforcement of the curfew. The curfew is meant to prevent gatherings that go on late into the night, while enabling rest bar and taverns to continue to operate,” he said.
The reason for closure of some beaches and parks during festive season is because of high rate of infections.
Gauteng, EC, WC and KwaZulu-Natal are under microscope.
The Pres also made a stern warning to public transport to be compliant by urging commuters to wear safety masks and for employers to insist on employees to adhere on the rules.
Liquor Traders Association spokesperson Lucky Ntimane, says although they welcome the decision by the Pres and team, it would have been better if taverns would have operated until late as its more of a family gathering.
“Its all about safety and adhering to the regulations and foot-soldiers are already hitting the ground in some areas as part of managing patrons, etc…” he said.
Tourism Business Council SA CEO Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa said they are happy with the outcome of the Corona-virus committee and will keep engaging with their members to follow the law and abide without cutting corners as this will hit hard in the next phase “if we let our guard down”.
Wine tasting and selling of wines will be allowed.
After tears events have also been banned.
Yes, some including this reporter were expecting tighter lockdown but Ramaphosa and team thought long and hard as the economy is on the trajectory of recovery.
But be warned…
Image (Pres Cyril Matamela Ramaphosa provides a relief for many but warns…).