By Fiona Wakelin

Going to level 3 from the beginning of June will involve the return to operation of most sectors of the economy, under strict health protocols and social distancing rules. But what does this mean in practical terms?

  •   More public servants will be called back to work.
  • You can leave home to buy goods or obtain services including medical care.
  • You may exercise at any time during the day, provided this is not done in groups.
  • The curfew will be lifted.
  • Alcohol may be sold for home consumption only under strict conditions, on specified days and for limited hours.
  • The sale of tobacco products will remain prohibited in alert level 3 due to the health risks associated with smoking.
  • All gatherings will remain prohibited, except for funerals with no more than 50 people or meetings in the workplace for work purposes.
  • Any place open to the public where cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, exhibitional, organisational or similar activities may take place will remain closed.
  • Government will be finalising a number of sector protocols and will require every company to develop a workplace plan before they re-open. According to these plans, companies will need to put in place sanitary and social distancing measures and facilities; they will need to screen workers on arrival each day, quarantine those who may be infected and make arrangements for them to be tested. They also need to assist with contact tracing if employees test positive.
  • All staff who are older than 60 years of age and those who suffer from underlying conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, chronic respiratory disease and cancer should ideally stay at home.
  • Employees who can work from home should be allowed to do so.
  • All manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, professional and business services, information technology, communications, government services and media services, will reopen from 1 June.
  • Appropriate restart and phasing in arrangements will need to be put in place for every workplace.
  • Wholesale and retail trade will be fully opened, including stores, spaza shops and informal traders. E-commerce will continue to remain open.
  • Certain high-risk economic activities will remain prohibited. These include:

– Restaurants, bars and taverns, except for delivery or collection of food.

– Accommodation and domestic air travel, except for business travel, which will be phased in on dates to be announced.

– Conferences, events, entertainment and sporting activities.

– Personal care services, including hairdressing and beauty services.

  • Commuters will always need to wear masks, to wash their hands before and after they have travelled and avoid touching their faces with unwashed hands.
  • Grades 7 and 12 learners will resume classes from 1 June.
  • From 1 June, all public universities are expected to implement remote teaching and learning strategies
  • No more than a third of the student population will be allowed to return to campuses on condition that they can be safely accommodated.

The move to level 3 will enable the return to work of up to 8 million people – and as President Ramaphosa said:

“Now is the time when we must intensify our efforts and deepen our cooperation.

Now, we look once again to you, to your actions and to your sense of responsibility.

We look to you to uphold the sanctity of life and the dignity of all people.

We look to you to protect the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

We look to you to demonstrate the solidarity and compassion that has characterised the response of the South African people to this crisis.

In meeting this grave challenge, we will move ahead as one people, united in action, and determined that we will surely overcome.

At this time, more than any other, we are reminded of the words of Madiba, when he said: ‘It is now in your hands.’”

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