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Staff Reporter

That you can now buy alcohol with effect from June 1 when the entire South Africa moves to Level 3 lockdown was always going to steal the headlines, but there are still a couple of things that remain prohibited under the restrictions imposed by the government in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Announcing the easing of the lockdown restrictions this Sunday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa said people will be able to leave their homes to buy goods or obtain services including medical care, but those who do not need to go to work or to an educational institution are urged to stay home.

He said the sale of alcohol would be allowed but under strict trading conditions within clearly defined times.

The president, however, said the ban on the sale of cigarettes and other tobacco products remains in place due to the health risks associated with smoking.

“People will also be able to exercise at any time during the day, provided this is not done in groups. The curfew on the movement of people will be lifted,” Ramaphosa said.

“Alcohol may be sold for home consumption only under strict conditions, on specified days and for limited hours.

“The sale of tobacco products will remain prohibited in alert Level 3 due to the health risks associated with smoking.

While there will be more economic activity with effect from June 1, all gatherings will remain prohibited, except for funerals with less than 50 people or meetings in the workplace for work purposes.

All places offering cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, exhibitional, organisational or similar activities will also remain closed.

“To ensure that we maintain social distancing, certain high-risk economic activities will remain prohibited,” Ramaphosa said.

These, he said, include:

  • restaurants, bars and taverns, except for delivery or collection of food
  • accommodation and domestic air travel, except for business travel, which will be phased in on dates to be announced
  • conferences, events, entertainment and sporting activities
  • personal care services, including hairdressing and beauty services

“We have held discussions with the tourism, hotel and restaurant industry regarding the challenges and hardships these sectors are experiencing,” the president said.

“They have made several proposals, regarding the measures they intend to put in place when their sectors are opened.

“We are giving consideration to the proposals.”

Ramaphosa said to reduce the risk of infection, the return to work will be phased in so that the workplace can be made coronavirus-ready.

He identified transport as one of the major challenges as South Africa resumes most economic activities.

Taxi and bus operators, the president said, will need to observe the regulations to be announced by the minister of transport, including ensuring that their vehicles are regularly sanitised.

“One of the greatest challenges we will face with the move to Level 3 — which will enable the return to work of up to eight million people — will be the increased risk of transmission in public transport,” Ramaphosa said.

“We need to have a partnership between commuters, taxi and bus operators, business and government to keep our people safe.

“Commuters will always need to wear masks, to wash their hands before and after they have travelled and avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands.

“Commuters will also need to keep a safe distance from other commuters.”

Ramaphosa said a number of businesses had advised that they were looking at how they can reduce congestion on public transport, including through staggering working hours and providing transport for employees.

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