- Alcohol sales were allowed again after a two-month ban because of the coronavirus outbreak.
- Places of worship were allowed to open from Monday with limits on the number of people in congregations.
- Schools were also ordered to re-open on Monday but teachers’ unions defied the order saying schools were not equipped to keep staff and pupils safe.
South Africa has eased its coronavirus lockdown measures to “level 3” on Monday, 1 June in a bid to revive its stuttering economy and allow people to resume work, worship or shopping, while mines and factories will also begin to run at full capacity.
- South Africa has so far reported over 32,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 600 people have died, with warnings the peak is not expected until August or September.
President Cyril Ramaphosa who announced the new measures explained that the coronavirus lockdown had battered Africa’s most industrialised economy, which was already in recession before the outbreak.
With more than eight million people now expected to return to work, the South African government has indicated that it will step back from regulating individual sectors and has placed an emphasis on individual responsibility.
“We are taking a gradual approach, guided by the advice of our scientists and led by the realities on the ground,” Ramaphosa said in a statement.
Following the ease of the coronavirus lockdown, the people of South Africa spent their Monday morning lining up outside liquor stores, as alcohol sales were allowed again after a two-month ban because of the coronavirus outbreak.
Places of worship were allowed to open from Monday with limits on the number of people in congregations, yet many religious groups refused the opportunity as they were concerned about the danger of allowing people to gather in an enclosed building.
The reopening of schools for some pupils was also delayed as unions urged staff to stay away, saying schools were not properly equipped.
The Department of Basic Education (DBE) on Sunday announced in a statement at the 11th hour that a substantial number of schools were not ready to re-open, which was what teachers’ unions had been saying for a while now.
The department announced that school management teams, teachers, and non-teaching staff would return to work on Monday morning to prepare for the arrival of pupils next week.
Education Minister Angie Motshekga apologised for the last-minute U-turn at a press conference on Monday saying, “The reopening was a real uphill … We have lost a whole term and we are likely to lose more time because of the virus,” she said.
Restaurants were also relieved at being allowed to offer collections and takeaways with strict COVID-19 regulations in place, or they could opt for the drive-through route, which is also now allowed instead of just delivery. Eating in, however, remains banned.
“Adding drive-through and collections/takeaway will have a massively positive effect on our business … and the industry as a whole,” a spokesman for McDonald’s South Africa said, adding that 80 per cent of their restaurants will open and about two-thirds of staff will return.
Game parks and private game farms are now allowed to open for visitors, however, no overnight stays are allowed.
Citizens still cannot visit family or friends and cannot yet get a haircut as hair salons remained closed.
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