By: Natasha Archary
President Cyril Ramaphosa eased some lockdown regulations when he addressed the country on the 1stFebruary.
The decision to move to a more relaxed Level 3 was due to a decline in new COVID-19 infections, hospital admissions and COVID-related deaths.
The head of state made the changes with the aim to boost economic activity after shutting down the alcohol industry at the end of December 2020.
Throwing a lifeline to the hospitality industry with a later curfew at 23h00 to 04h00 and making the sale of alcohol and consumption on site possible again.
Other restrictions to have been adjusted include the resumption of faith-based gatherings and the reopening of public places like beaches, dams, rivers and parks.
President Ramaphosa says the resumption of these activities will need to happen while following the necessary health protocols and adhering to the allowed number of people for indoor events (50) and outdoor events (100).
It’s far from over
Scientists in the country estimate that South Africa will likely reach herd immunity once around 67% of the population is immune to COVID-19.
This means 40 million South Africans would need to be negative. Highlighting the comprehensive vaccine rollout, President Ramaphosa confirmed that a further 500,000 doses are expected later this month.
Many are calling the eased regulations ‘too little too late’, as many restaurants have been forced to call it a day after being unable to survive the extended lockdown from December to the end of January.
Last month more people joined the unemployed list after the alcohol industry cut over 550 temporary employees. It’s a step in the right direction to open up the economy once again, but the country still has a long way to go before the effects of COVID-19 are behind us.