President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the easing of several restrictions as part of Adjusted Alert Level 1.
Addressing the nation on developments in the country’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic recently, President Ramaphosa said the approach going forward is that both indoor and outdoor venues can now take up to 50% of their capacity provided that the criteria for entrance are proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours.
The President said following consultations and the recommendations of the National Coronavirus Command Council, Cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on gatherings and previous regulations.
He said the emphasis was on placing an upper limit on the number of people who could attend a gathering.
“But where there is no provision for proof of vaccination or a COVID-19 test, then the current upper limit will remain – of 1 000 people indoors and 2 000 people outdoors,” the President said.
Changes to the restrictions would benefit the sporting, cultural, entertainment and events industries.
The maximum number of people permitted at a funeral will increase from 100 to 200.
Wearing of masks
The President also announced important changes to the regulation on the wearing of masks.
As before, it is mandatory to wear a cloth mask or similar covering over the nose and mouth when in public indoor spaces.
However, a mask is not required when outdoors.
“This means that we still need to wear masks when in shops, malls, offices, factories, taxis, buses, trains or any other indoor public space.
“But we do not need to wear masks when walking on the street or in an open space, when exercising outdoors or when attending an outdoor gathering,” President Ramaphosa said.
The regulations on social distancing have been changed, requiring that a space of 1 metre is maintained between persons in all settings, except schools.
Going forward, the President said the most important defences against the disease are, firstly, vaccination and, secondly, the observance of basic measures, such as wearing masks indoors.
“Statistics from our health facilities, clearly show that people who are not vaccinated stand a higher chance of being hospitalised or dying from COVID-19,” the President said.
The President further encouraged those who are vaccinated to go and receive their booster doses.
Have your say on National State of Disaster
“Due to the changing nature of the pandemic, and due to the progress that has been made through our collective efforts, we intend to lift the National State of Disaster as soon as public comment on the health regulations published by the Minister of health has been completed.”
These regulations, when finalised, will replace the State of Disaster regulations as the legal instrument that government uses to manage the pandemic.
The President however emphasised that what should be clear is that the end of the National State of Disaster does not mean the end of the pandemic.– SAnews.gov.za