By Naseerah Nanabhai
The Forum of South African Directors-General (FOSAD) has recommended to the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) that South Africa be moved to level 2 of the nationwide lockdown. This comes after a decline in the number of infections in the country, with fewer cases reported daily.
Lungi Mtshali, a spokesman for the Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Ministry, which administers the lockdown rules, mentioned that “The numbers are going down, and regular assessments will be done to open up the economy when ready.”
If the cabinet accepts the recommendations, the country could soon move to level 2. The move might mean a lift on tobacco and alcohol sale bans as well as fewer travel restrictions.
The tobacco industry has gone to court to try to overturn the ban on sales while the alcohol industry has implored the government to allow it to resume sales under certain conditions including limited trading hours and rationing the amount of liquor that individuals can purchase.
DA leader John Steenhuisen said in a statement on Wednesday: “The DA calls on President Ramaphosa to end the hard lockdown now, including the irrational bans on tobacco and alcohol. The tourism industry, schools and borders need to be fully opened, the curfew lifted and the state of disaster ended.”
Some other major changes that can be expected under level 2 are:
- The lifting of the curfew from 10 pm.
- Restrictions on inter-provincial travel will be scrapped.
- The tourism industry and all tourist attractions could fully reopen.
- Most restrictions on retail, manufacturing, real estate, the trade industry and construction will be lifted.
- Schools could fully reopen.
- Gyms and fitness centres could reopen.
- Private residential projects can resume construction again.
- Mining and manufacturing businesses will be allowed to operate at 100% capacity.
Restrictions expected to remain in place are on international flights; leisure ocean travel on passenger ships; mass gatherings; attendance of mass sports events; visiting bars and taverns; the opening of borders; and mask, hygiene and social distancing requirements.
Ramaphosa’s acting spokesperson, Tyrone Seale was yet to respond to queries on when Ramaphosa would address the nation about the possible move to level 2.