President Ramaphosa outlines new restrictions for Easter weekend

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President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the country this evening in what has come to be known as family meetings, briefing the nation on what is happening with regard to COVID-19 in South Africa. He took the time to outline the steps that are being taken to secure more vaccines for SA, while also pointing out some of the hurdles that are currently impacting the government’s ability in that respect.

The most pertinent aspects of his address focused on the upcoming Easter weekend, confirming new restrictions that will be in place over four days between 2nd April to 5th April 2021. He did, however, note that the country would remain under alert level 1 lockdown.

Given the many religious gatherings that will be taking place over the weekend, Ramaphosa explained that the permitted capacities have been doubled, provided the size of the venue allows for COVID-19 protocols to be observed as well. To that end, up to 250 people will be allowed for indoor gatherings and up to 500 for outdoor gatherings.

The president also stressed that open air gatherings are advised wherever possible, along with urging the country to remain vigilant with regard to adhering to lockdown regulations, wearing masks and social distancing.

It remains to be seen, however, what the impact the increasing of capacities will have in the long term, especially with fears over a third wave of infections related to the upcoming holiday period.

The other key change to restrictions is that the sale of alcohol for offsite consumption will be banned from the 2nd to 5th of April, but restaurants and pubs will still be able to sell for onsite consumption within the permitted hours under adjusted level 1 lockdown.

It should also be noted that there is no change to the curfew, which remains between midnight and 04:00 in the morning.

While the alcohol ban may impact some businesses, it appears as if the decision was taken to ensure less pressure is put on hospitals over the Easter weekend, as well as having less drinking and driving over a busy period on the roads.

[Image – CC BY-ND 2.0 GovernmentZA on Flickr]

Robin-Leigh Chetty

Robin-Leigh Chetty

When he's not reviewing the latest smartphones, Robin-Leigh is writing about everything tech-related from IoT and smart cities, to 5G and cloud computing. He's also a keen photographer and dabbles in console games.