Government may have dropped its mask-wearing policy but the face-coverings may still be with South Africans for a long time.
National Health Minister Joe Phaahla says people who want to continue wearing face masks in public for their own health should be allowed to do so without fear of embarrassment or harassment.
He also said that while government has now scrapped the mask-wearing policy, it is up to facilities such as schools, restaurants, shops and old-age homes to decide for themselves whether they will require visitors to wear masks or not.
These facilities still have the legal right of entry, and may block those who do not conform to their regulations.
On Wednesday evening, Phaahla repealed three regulations including the wearing of masks when in public as well as a regulation on the numbers permitted at a gathering and rules around vaccinations for people entering South Africa.
Cape Town Mayor Geordin Hill-Lewis says he welcomes Phaahla’s repeal: “In Cape Town, we will immediately lift all remaining restriction measures at City facilities and buildings.
“This includes capacity limitations at facilities, the compulsory wearing of face masks and compulsory hand sanitising at the entrances to facilities.
“Residents will once again be able to fill our stadia, sports facilities, clinic waiting rooms, payment halls and so on.
“Due to capacity limitations, for example, people have at times had to queue for long periods of time...at clinics, motor licensing facilities and walk-in centres.”
He adds: “We are optimistic about Cape Town’s future post-Covid-19, and look forward to the full resumption of business, tourist and social activity in the city.”