BREAKING: Ramaphosa Announces Easing of Lockdown Restrictions

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Cyril Ramaphosa
President Cyril Ramaphosa participates in a dialogue with Colin Coleman, Goldman Sachs' Sub-Saharan Africa's Chief Executive Officer, at the Goldman Sachs' investor conference at the Four Seasons Hotel, The Westcliff in Johannesburg. The conference brought together chief executive officers, chief information officers, chief financial officers and chairpersons of leading companies and financial institutions across all industry sectors from South Africa and other parts of the continent. 15/05/2019, Elmond Jiyane, GCIS

On Thursday, 23 April 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government would be progressively scaling down the COVID-19 lockdown after Thursday, 30 April. He ruled out an abrupt ending of the lockdown, which could risk a significant spread of the virus and result in another “hard” lockdown.

There will five coronavirus levels.

There will be a national level, and separate levels for provinces and municipalities.

Level 5, the most strict, locks down most of society. We are currently on a Level 5 lockdown.

On Level 4, some activity is allowed subject to “extreme precautions”.

Level 3 involves further easing on work and social activities.

Level 2 means there will still be some restrictions.

Level 1 is the most open level.

The National Coronavirus Command Council is empowered to determine the level society will operate at.

The council has determined that the level will be lowed from Level 5 to Level 4 on 1 May. This means some businesses will be allowed to resume operations, provided they comply with detailed health protocols. Business operations may only be resumed in a phased manner. Where possible, however, businesses should have a work from home approach, allowing all staff who can work remotely to do so.

Ramaphosa further announced that ministers will set out how each industry within their portfolios will be affected by each level. Ministers will also announce details concerning the easing of restrictions mentioned below.

On 1 May, the country’s borders will remain closed for international travel, but for repatriation of South Africans from abroad and international citizens leaving South Africa. No travel between provinces will be allowed unless under defined circumstances. Public transport will be allowed to operate, subject to hygienic safeguards. People may exercise, subject to conditions that will be announced. Gatherings other than for work and funerals remain prohibited. Elderly persons and persons with preexisting conditions must remain home. Cigarette sales will be permitted, and the range of goods that may be sold will be extended. Sporting events, religious and cultural gatherings, and entertainment events, will remain prohibited.

The President implored South Africans to still enforce social distancing.