After 750 days President Ramaphosa has announced that the State of Disaster, implemented to assist the government in dealing with Covid-19, will end. However a number of restrictions will remain in place as Covid-19 has not disappeared completely. The question many are asking is whether masks will still be required?
The national State of Disaster was implemented on the 15th March 2020 and was followed by a national lockdown. It was initially declared for 3 weeks! The restrictions went on, in different forms, for 750 days.
The President took to national TV screens again on Monday night to announce that the State of Disaster will finally end, at midnight on the same day.
The restrictions that were implemented under the State of Disaster will be moved to the National Health Act if they are still necessary.
But what changes? For most people not much will change. A number of restrictions will remain in place for 30 days.
These remaining restrictions are:
- Cloth masks must be worn in all indoor public places (Masks still not required when outside)
- Restrictions on the size of gatherings will remain as they are. Only 50% capacity if the venue does not check on vaccine status – and up to 1000 or 2000 when vaccine status is being checked.
- International travelers arriving in South Africa will have to prove proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test that is not more than 72 hours old. If they don’t do that they will be required to take an antigen test on arrival – and if they are positive they will be required to isolate for 10 days.
- The payment of the R350 grant, or Social Relief of Distress grant as it is officially known, will remain. That will be a great relief to the beneficiaries who are relying on this money. The Social Development department will be drawing up their own regulations to take over the administration of this grant.
- The final regulation that remains in place is the extension on the validity of learners, drivers and other motor licences.
So not much will change for the person in the street over the next 30 days. By then it will be up to the Department of Health to decide if any or all of these restrictions should remain in place.