You can do your shopping online again - but not for alcohol or cigarettes

14 May 2020 - 17:04 By Naledi Shange
The government on Thursday announced that online shopping could immediately resume.
The government on Thursday announced that online shopping could immediately resume.
Image: 123RF/Nonwarit Pruetisirirot

The government has unshackled e-commerce, allowing the sale of all goods online — barring alcohol and cigarettes — from Thursday.

This as the country, on level 4 of the coronavirus lockdown, anticipates some areas being reduced to level 3 at the end of May 

In a gazette published on Thursday, the department of trade, industry and competition said: “Subject to all applicable laws, all goods may be transacted through e-Commerce platforms, except for goods prohibited [alcohol and cigarettes] ...”

Strict guidelines have been published for all companies who wish to resume their online trade. This includes them ensuring the safety of their employees by adhering to the Covid-19 occupational health and safety measures.

The gazette said all workers who would be resuming work at the different warehouses of the online retailers should not share face masks, equipment, stationery or utensils and must have their temperatures checked every four hours while on duty.

“Any employee whose temperature is 37.5 degrees or above should immediately be moved to an isolated observation room for a second measurement. If the second test measurement also exceeds 37.5 degrees, the employee must be returned home for self-quarantine, provided with a surgical mask and not be permitted to enter or stay on the premises.

In a bid to boost the country's economy, which has taken a severe knock due to the Covid-19 outbreak, online retailers were encouraged to promote and sell goods manufactured in SA.

When it comes to payment for goods, retailers were urged to give customers options of how to pay for their goods, ensuring they were minimising, if not totally, excluding contact.

“When packaging goods, retailers must provide written guidelines for customers on how to safely disinfect their goods before use,” the government gazette read.

“Retailers must put in place collection protocols to ensure that adequate social distancing is maintained by courier or delivery service personnel when collecting goods from a warehouse or depot. All goods must be sanitised, in line with the guidelines published by the national department of health, before leaving the warehouse or depot,” it continued.

Couriers were also required to have their own masks and sanitisers and still practise social distancing when delivering the parcels. Customers were advised to also wear their cloth masks and be extra cautious when receiving their goods.

Customers collecting parcels must wear a cloth face mask or a homemade item covering  the nose and mouth.

They will also have to maintain at least one-and-a-half metres distance from couriers and disinfect their goods.