After President Cyril Ramaphosa's announcement that churches, mosques and synagogues may resume religious services as long as these are limited to 50 people or less, social media weighed in the matter.
He cautioned that care must be taken to ensure the safety of congregants and that the wearing of masks was compulsory.
"Any religious rituals that carry even the slightest possibility of exposing worshipers to risk should be avoided and that where they form an essential part of religious practice, that sanitation is paramount," Ramaphosa said.
"Churches, synagogues, mosques, temples and other recognised places of worship may resume services. But these will be limited in size to 50 people or less, depending on the space available."
During his national address on Sunday, Ramaphosa said the government had "fruitful discussions" with the religious community over the opening of spiritual worship and counselling services "subject to certain norms and standards".
"We have all agreed to have further discussions on this issue and are confident we will find a workable solution," he said.
Religious leaders will be recognised as essential religious frontline workers for the purpose of spiritual counselling for members of their faith organisations, he said.
"Whether you are a person of faith or not, there is one belief that unites us, and that is our belief in South Africa, in its people, in their courage and in their ability to overcome even the greatest of tribulations.
"As we worked tirelessly to heal the divisions of the past, so too will our united action bring us healing from this pandemic."
Social media reacted to this news and quickly had "#ChurchIsEssential" trending:
— TjoviTjoH ● (@Sir_TjoviTjoH) May 26, 2020
Well, you're going to meet God quicker than you expected #ChurchIsEssential
— Don Petty Cash (@iamkoshiek) May 26, 2020
— ᵀʰᵉ✯𝔾rͥooͣtͫᴍaŇ⇝🐦✞ (@Junbugstone) May 26, 2020
President: Alcohol will be sold.
President: churches will be open.
People: it will end in tears.
— SITHALE✍🏿 (@SithaleKgaogelo) May 26, 2020
— Dineo Gagathiba (@GagathibaDineo) May 26, 2020
— siyasamkela (@siyamtitshana) May 26, 2020
Some argued that for them going the club (or as it is colloquially referred to, "groove") is a spiritual experience, and that if the churches open, then so should the clubs.
— K U L A N I (@kulanicool) May 26, 2020
Does Ramaphosa know that in PMB we have church at groove? So surely level 3 siyabangena? pic.twitter.com/dQ8A8vy6vy
— Sizwe Sama Ngcolosi. (@BathuNgcolosi) May 26, 2020
https://twitter.com/shySkhu/status/1265349361380265984Ramaphosa also announced a national day of prayer on Sunday, May 31, where all religious leaders and members of faith-based organisations are invited to pray for the country which has been hardest hit in Africa by the Covid-19 pandemic.