Post Lockdown: Govt to Keep Ban on Bars, Church, Restaurants and Shebeens

The presentation further states that “no gatherings of more than 10 people outside of a workplace will be permitted.”

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27 March 2020: Empty streets in Johannesburg’s central business district. (Photograph by Ihsaan Haffejee
27 March 2020: Empty streets in Johannesburg’s central business district. (Photograph by Ihsaan Haffejee

The South African government wants to retain several restrictions in place once the national lockdown ends.

The proposal is contained in a presentation titled “Risk-adjusted strategy for economic activity” that was published on the SASTA website

There is early evidence that the full national lockdown imposed since 26 March 2020 has successfully limited the spread of the coronavirus, reads the report.

“However, there are serious risks associated with lifting lockdown restrictions too soon, or in an unsystematic and disorderly manner.”

The government proposes the following restrictions to be maintained post lockdown, according to a presentation on the SASTA website:

The following restrictions will remain in place after the national lockdown, and regardless of the level of alert at any given time:

    • Sit-in restaurants and hotels
    • Bars and shebeens
    • Conferences and convention centres
    • Entertainment venues, including cinemas, theatres, and concerts
    • Sporting events
    • Religious, cultural and social gatherings

The presentation further states that “no gatherings of more than 10 people outside of a workplace will be permitted.”

Passengers on all modes of transport must wear a cloth mask to be allowed entry into the vehicle, it stated.

“Hand sanitisers must be made available, and all passengers must sanitise their hands before entering. Public transport vehicles must be sanitised on a daily basis.”

The following rules will be imposed across all sectors and alert levels:

  • Industries are encouraged to adopt a work-from-home strategy where possible, and all staff who can work remotely must be allowed to do so.
  • Workers above the age of 60, as well as workers with comorbidities identified by the Department of Health, should be offered a work-from-home option or allowed to remain on leave on full pay.
  • There should be workplace protocols in place that would include disease surveillance and prevention of the spread of infection.
  • All employers screen staff on a daily basis for symptoms of COVID-19, including a symptom check as well as temperature assessment.
  • All employees use a cloth mask, especially where social distancing is not possible.
  • Work environment to have sanitisers available or handwashing facilities with soap.
  • Stringent social distancing measures should be implemented in the workplace.

The Department of Health will issue a comprehensive guidance note stipulating health and safety practices for returning to work, according to the presentation.

Before any sector resumes activity, the following conditions must be in place:

  • In addition to generally applicable health and safety protocols, each sector must agree upon a COVID19 prevention and mitigation plan with the Minister of Employment and Labour, the Minister of Health and any other Minister relevant to the sector.
  • Individual businesses or workplaces must have COVID-19 risk assessments and plans in place, and must conduct worker education on COVID-19 and protection measures:
    • Identification and protection of vulnerable employees
    • Safe transport for employees
    • Screening of employees on entering the workplace or Prevention of viral spread in the workplace:
    • Cleaning of surfaces and shared equipment o Good ventilation
    • Managing sick employees
  • Monitoring systems must be in place to

(1) ensure compliance with safety protocols and

(2) identify infections among employees

Furthermore, the presentation states that a system of “alert levels” should be adopted, and further work is done to determine which sectors (and under what conditions) may operate at each level.

The Department of Trade and Industry and the Department of Health should collaborate to develop this system.

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