Level 2 on the cards for Easter? Here are some major changes that could be in place before the holiday
Talk about the country's possible return to level 2 lockdown has Mzansi shaking in its boots, sparking rumours about a 21-day booze ban that have since been dismissed by the government.
This comes after Prof Salim Abdool Karim, the co-chair of the ministerial advisory committee (MAC), called for the government to move SA to alert level 2 before the Easter holiday as a precautionary measure.
Speaking to TimesLIVE, Abdool Karim said moving to level 2 lockdown before the upcoming long weekend could minimise the risk of a third Covid-19 wave.
“I don’t know if we will have a third wave after Easter. But I don't want to wait to find out. I would rather take the precautions and reduce our chances of a third wave,” he said.
“I think if we did those activities we would reduce the risk of super-spreading events like what happened with the second wave, which hit us badly because of such events. This time we want to avoid the risk of super-spreading events.”
According to a News24 report, the national command council (NCC) was advised last week in a MAC advisory to restrict gatherings to 50, impose a 10pm curfew and revert to selling alcohol only from Mondays to Thursdays from 10am to 6pm.
The publication said the NCC was expected to meet on Thursday.
Dramatic drop in traffic violations last Easter
Over the Easter weekend last year, the country saw a dramatic drop in the number of traffic violations. Road accidents declined by 83%, and only 26 fatal crashes were recorded, which resulted in 28 fatalities on SA roads during the period.
However, transport minister Fikile Mbalula noted that comparing last year's statistics with previous years was not realistic as the lockdown had drastically limited movement on the roads.
Level 2 lockdown on the cards?
This is what level 2 looked like last year, according to the government gazette. However, there have been various amendments made to all lockdowns levels.
- Movement of people: Every person would be confined to his or her place of residence from 10pm until 4am, except where a person has been granted a permit.
- Mandatory protocols when in a public place: A person may not be allowed to be in a public place, use any form of public transport or enter a public building, place or premises, without wearing a face mask.
- Attendance of funerals: Attendance at a funeral would be limited to 50 people and will not be regarded as a prohibited gathering.
- Gatherings: All gatherings would be prohibited except faith-based gatherings, funerals, workplace for work purposes, conferences and meetings, cinemas, theatres, concerts and live performances. These would all be limited to 52 or less people, depending on the size of the place.
- Closure of borders: All borders could be shut down, except for ports of entry designated for the transportation of fuel, cargo, goods and emergencies.
- Public transport: Bus and taxi services may not carry more than 70% of the licensed capacity for long-distance travel and may carry 100% of the licensed capacity for any trip not regarded as long-distance travel.
- Sale or transportation of liquor: Sale of liquor by licensed premises for off-consumption would be permitted from 9am to 5pm, from Mondays to Thursdays, excluding Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays. Licensed premises for on-site consumption would permitted, subject to strict adherence to the curfew.
- Travelling: International passenger air travel for leisure purposes would be prohibited as well as passenger ships for international leisure purposes.