As South Africans gear up for the Easter weekend, the President has addressed the nation to announce new restrictions.
In his address on Tuesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said the country cannot afford to let its guard down.
The upcoming Easter weekend is known to be a time of religious gatherings. The weekend is also a busy time for the country's roads as people travel from one province to another.
“While the rate of transmission remains stable, we cannot let our guard down. This is a time where caution is needed more than ever. The reality is that greater movement of people, interprovincial travel, greater use of public transit and gatherings present a great risk of an increase in infections”
In preparation for the Easter weekend, the President consulted with health professionals, religious community leaders and traditional leaders in order to plan ahead.
The President has confirmed that the country will continue to remain at lockdown level 1. However, adjustments have been made to level 1 restrictions for the Easter weekend.
The biggest change is that the sale of alcohol for off site consumption will be prohibited over the 4 day weekend. This means alcohol will not be available for sale at liquor stores on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday 5 April 2021.
On site sale of alcohol, on the other hand, will be allowed up to 11pm.
The following restrictions remain unchanged:
- Curfew remains midnight to 4am
- Beaches, dams, parks remain open (subject to health protocols)
- Funerals remain restricted to 100 people with a 2 hour limit
- Interprovincial travel is still allowed, however, South Africans are urged to limit traveling during the Easter period.
Further consultations were held to find ways to manage large crowds, as religious gatherings are allowed to take place during the Easter weekend.
“The Easter weekend is a time of spiritual significance and attending religious services is important to millions of our people.” said Ramaphosa.
The President said religious gatherings will be restricted to a total number of 250 people indoors & 500 people outdoors.
“This is an increase of the number we have currently...Congregants should not gather outside their usual places of worship and people must go home and not sleep over after services”
“Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing then no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used” he said.
The President said the size of gatherings will be reviewed in the next 15 days. He encouraged those at high risk of contracting Covid-19 to stay away from gatherings during this period.