Gyms, weddings, social gatherings permitted as government reopens economy

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Weddings, family gatherings, cinemas and theatres will finally be open as the country enters level 2 of the national lockdown due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma announced yesterday that bars and restaurants will operate at a maximum of 50 patrons. Gyms will also operate at 50 members with strict health and safety protocols in place. Beaches and parks are also open.

Casinos will open at 50% of their floor capacity.

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“Theatres and cinemas are now permitted to operate at a maximum of 50 persons at a time, subject to health and hygiene protocols such as mask wearing and social distancing and sanitising.

“Social events at places of residence are now permitted. This includes visits to friends and family as long as there are no more than 10 visitors at a time. Health protocols of wearing masks, sanitising and washing of hands and social distancing still apply,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

“This is very important because when people visit, they will probably visit people who are over 60, some of them have comorbidities. Younger people sometimes do not show symptoms of the virus, you don’t want them to visit the grandmother, aunt or uncle not knowing they are positive and then infect the older people. We know that the older people are at risk and their mortality rate is high. It is important that when you visit you still keep to the protocols … Your visit should not lead to grief.”

She said social gatherings such as funerals and weddings are now permitted as long as there are not more than 50 people gathered and health protocols also apply at these events.

“Night vigils are still not permitted. Funerals are still limited to 50 people wearing masks, washing of masks and washing of hands,” she said.

Dlamini-Zuma said with the fatality rate at 2%, the government had to reopen the economy but under strict regulations.

The government has also suspended building temporary field hospitals and will use the funds to maintain existing health facilities.

Dlamini-Zuma warned against thinking that the virus is gone now that the economy is opened.

“We must exercise caution and be more vigilant than before. It is our actions that will determine our future. When we further open the economy, it does not mean that the risks are lower. All it means is that we are trying to balance the livelihood … but the risk of the virus is still there. The virus does not move, people move the virus. The more people move around, the more the chances of transmission are,” she said.


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