President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the implementation of a partial easing of the current Covid-19 lockdown from next Friday, 1 May. Ramaphosa stated that government had to balance the need to resume economic activity with the imperative to contain the virus and save lives. Government has developed an approach which will see the easing of the measures taking place on five levels. The lockdown that will be in place from the 1st of May is seen as level four, with some people returning to work.
While people are urged to stay at home and exercise preventative COVID-19 measures, the sale of cigarettes will be permitted, as will outdoor exercise under strict conditions. Mass gatherings at places such as bars, shebeens, concert venues, cinemas, sporting events and religious gatherings remain prohibited. Ramaphosa warned that strict measures will remain in place, like the ban on international travel, while shebeens, taverns, bars and restaurants will remain closed. The range of goods that may be sold will be extended to incorporate certain additional categories. These will be detailed by the relevant Ministers. Some businesses will be allowed to resume operations under specific conditions. Businesses will be encouraged to adopt a work-from-home strategy where possible. All staff who can work remotely must be allowed to do so. The president said relevant Ministers will provide details on the process for the phased re-opening of schools and other educational institutions. Ramaphosa also urged all South Africans to wear a face mask whenever they leave home. He said the clothing and textile industry – including many small businesses – are gearing up to produce these masks on a mass scale. PHOTOS: (SA Presidency)