Social gatherings are when we get the opportunity to see our loved ones — which to be honest — has been scarce in 2020. President Cyril Ramaphosa, while addressing the nation on Wednesday 16 September, said social gatherings are still allowed under Level 1 lockdown, however, the number of people allowed at any one given time has increased.
Ramaphosa, after gruelling meetings all week, said the country was finally ready to move to Level 1 lockdown.
SOCIAL GATHERINGS UNDER LEVEL 1: WHAT IS ALLOWED?
While the National coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) allowed social gatherings, as well as religious gatherings to take place, it always maintained that no more than 50 people could gather in one space at one given time to maintain a safe distance and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Now, under Level 1, government reconsidered the number of people that can gather.
Gatherings are allowed as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue or facility. There must be a maximum of 250 people for indoor events and 500 people for outdoor gatherings.
Sanitising, washing of hands, and mask-wearing must still be strictly observed. The maximum amount of people that can attend funerals has also been increased from 50 to 100 people. Night vigils, however, are still prohibited.
GOVERNMENT ALLUDED TO A MOVE
Just a few days ago, Ramaphosa sat down with the South African National Editor’s Forum (Sanef). During the virtual meeting, he dropped a few hints about Level 1. He said religious leaders had asked him to reconsider how many people may be allowed to worship at one given time.
He responded by saying that the media should watch this space which definitely pointed to the fact that big announcements were on the way.
“This is where we will need advice from the medical advisory committee, as well as, from our net joints, which is the real engine of the monitoring our coronavirus approach, so we will be giving consideration to all that and watch this space, next week as far as where we end up as a nation as far as this is concerned,” he said.
Even Health Minister Zweli Mkhize vouched for a move to Level 1, saying that the COVID-19 infection rate was looking good.
“We never actually knew what to expect, and the reality is that we can now safely say we are over the surge,” he said.
“The sooner we can get to Level 1 the better. The sooner we have a normal economy the better. It is better for the country,” he added.
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