South Africa moved to adjusted level 3 on Sunday, which means restaurants can reopen and alcohol sales can resume, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday.
“The latest figures suggest that we have largely passed the peak of the third wave of infections, although there are areas in the country where we still need to be concerned because the rates of infection have not yet shown signs of decline,” Ramaphosa said.
The president said that Cabinet had decided that the country should be moved from Adjusted Alert Level 4 and be placed on Adjusted Alert Level 3.
“The overall decline in new infections means that it is possible to gradually ease some of the restrictions on gatherings, movement and the sale of alcohol,” Ramaphosa said.
The easing of regulations will take effect once the regulations have been gazetted.
Ramaphosa announced that:
- The hours of curfew will stay the same, starting at 10pm and end at 4am.
- Interprovincial travel for leisure may resume.
- Non-essential establishments like restaurants, taverns, bars and fitness centres may be opened. These establishments will however need to close by 9pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.
- Gatherings will be allowed but will be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue may be used. Gatherings include religious services, political events and social gatherings. The limits on venue capacity also apply to restaurants, gyms, fitness centres, bars, taverns and similar places.
- Attendance at funerals and cremations may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed. Night vigils and after-funeral gatherings are still not allowed.
- The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday. Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 8pm.
- Schools re-open today, Monday the 26th of July, according to strict health protocols and other measures announced by the Minister of Basic Education.
Ramaphosa’s address on developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic came after he met with the National Coronavirus Command Council, the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet.
The National Health Department on Sunday reported 9 718 new Covid-19 cases and 287 deaths.
The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases identified in South Africa was 2 377 823, and the total death toll stood at 69 775.
“The cumulative number of recoveries now stand at 2 158 183, with a recovery rate of 90.8%,” the department said on Twitter.
Ramaphosa said on Sunday that the country was not out of the woods yet as certain provinces such as the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have continued to see a rise in cases. Gauteng, which was the epicentre of the third wave, has seen a decrease in cases.
He stressed that there remains a concern about the spread of the coronavirus and people should continue to social distance and wear masks.
Ramaphosa commended the country's ability to increase the number of people who have been vaccinated. The country surpassed 200,000 vaccinations in a single day last week and Ramaphosa said he still hoped to see this number reach 300,000 a day.
From September 1, people between the ages of 18 and 35 will be allowed to get vaccinated.
The president said the country expects to receive over 30 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in the next three months. This means there will be enough doses for the year, he assured.