Cape Town – With hospitals not as overwhelmed as expected, infections in the most-populous provinces on the decline and the country’s coronavirus recovery rate showing a positive trajectory, South Africans have been buoyed by reports of the imminent announcement of lockdown level 2.
President Cyril Ramaphosa had extended the State of Disaster to August 15 and while Health Minister Zweli Mkhize has advocated for this to remain intact, a far greater level of freedom is expected under level 2.
Reports abound that most sectors of the battered economy will be opened, but under strict enforcement of social distancing, hand sanitisation and the wearing of masks.
There has been a lot of speculation that the National Coronavirus Command Council and the cabinet have been advised to lift the ban on the sale of cigarettes and alcohol, but with a limit on the amount that can be purchased.
[Read] President Cyril Ramaphosa has held a virtual meeting with members of the Presidential Economic Advisory Council to discuss the country’s economic recovery in the wake of the Coronavirus pandemic @PresidencyZA #COVID19 https://t.co/4DjxXo8obi pic.twitter.com/y6M4YMkzom
— @SAgovnews (@SAgovnews) August 13, 2020
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. It is high time for Ramaphosa to grow a spine, stand up to his party and start putting South Africa first,” Steenhuisen said.
Some of the other major changes that can be expected under level 2 are:
- The lifting of the curfew from 9pm, which restaurants especially would welcome.
- Restrictions on inter-provincial travel will be scrapped.
- The tourism industry and all tourist attractions to 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, with the restriction on exercise from 6am to 6pm being scrapped.
- 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 sport events; visiting bars and taverns; opening of borders; and mask, hygiene and social distancing requirements.