Covid-19 lockdown regulations: No alcohol, (but maybe cigarettes), and not much of anything at all

The police minister has warned the public that if the nation does not adhere to these prescriptions, we could be heading for a state of emergency, which will be even worse.

Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has signed the government notice outlining the regulations that will be in effect during the 21-day national shutdown kicking in from Friday morning.

Anyone not adhering to these regulations faces a fine or six months’ imprisonment.

Groups of people will not be able to exceed 50, maximum, at any time. Church services, restaurants, bars, night clubs, taverns, shebeens and similar establishments would need to be shut down.

The regulations prohibit movement between provinces, and the selling or buying of anything except essential goods, including non-alcoholic beverages. Government has also backtracked on the health minister okaying dog walking and jogging, with the police minister making it clear on Wednesday afternoon that walking your dog or any form of outdoor exercise do not form part of the allowed regulations.

Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel made a statement on Wednesday that cigarette sales were not considered a basic good – with the clarification being that it would not be allowed for anyone to go to a shop simply for the purpose of buying cigarettes. However, if you happen to be at the shop to buy a basic good like bread or milk, then presumably you will also be able to buy cigarettes, assuming they are on the shelf.

Note: An earlier version of this article said it seemed that the sale of cigarettes would stop, which may now not be the case. Hey, these are confusing times – Ed.

No person would be allowed to transport alcohol from one point to another.

“You should have a good reason for being on the street,” Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has said. “You are expected to be at home.”

Shops will be opened for food and medication. No clothing stores will be allowed to operate.

No one suspected of having Covid-19 may refuse medical examination, admission to a health establishment, quarantine site or isolation site. Treatment will be mandatory. The police minister revealed that people had already been charged with attempted murder for moving around after contracting Covid-19, after they had been advised to remain in quarantine.

Anyone may be subjected to screening for Covid-19 by an enforcement officer. Foreign tourists will be subject to being locked down.

Attendance at funerals will be limited to 50 people, with no night vigils and all safety precautions adhered to.

During the lockdown, citizens will be confined to their places of residence unless they are performing an essential task, obtaining an essential good or service, collecting a social grant or seeking emergency, life-saving or chronic medical attention.

Aside from not being able to leave provinces, there will be no movement between district and metropolitan areas.

All businesses must be closed except for those involved in the manufacture of essential goods, or the supply or provision of an essential service. All liquor outlets will be closed.

Government has advised that people should buy their essential goods from their nearest outlets, and in townships that would include spaza shops.

Retail stores selling essential goods will be prohibited from selling any other goods and a retailer must put in place controls to ensure that consumers keep a one-metre distance from each other.

As for public transport, no commuter transport will be allowed except for the purposes of seeking essential goods, receiving social grants, attending funerals and seeking medical attention. Vehicles will only be allowed to carry 50% of their licensed capacity and must follow all directions regarding hygienic conditions and the limiting of exposure.

Mbalula clarified more of the regulations Wednesday evening.

He explained that minibus taxis, as well as people using the Uber and Bolt apps, would only be able to operate between 5am and 9pm and 4pm and 8pm during the 21-day lockdown. They could only carry essential workers and people making “permitted movements”.

All minibus taxis would need to be sanitised after every trip and taxi ranks would also need to be sanitised regularly. All Metrorail and Gautrain services will be shut down.

“Vehicles licensed for eight people may only carry three people, while cars licensed for four people may only carry one,” he added.

“Vehicle testing centres and driving licence testing stations will be closed. Should your licence expire during lockdown, it will be valid until the end of the lockdown,” he added.

As part of relief measures of small businesses in distress, minibus taxis that have been financed by SEFA will be granted a three-month repayment holiday. Commercial banks are also considering similar measures.

Mbalula advised that all international and domestic flights would be prohibited during the lockdown. Only essential air cargo would be allowed, with cargo from high-risk countries needing to be sanitised.

The remaining 18 open border posts would continue conveying goods between South Africa and neighbouring countries but no person would be allowed through for the next 21 days.

Where a person renders an essential service and is unable to travel to and from the place of employment, the employer must arrange transport, keeping in mind the prohibition on filling vehicles to beyond 50% of licensed capacity.

Courier services may only be used for delivery of pharmaceuticals.

Anyone who can’t self-isolate at home can be removed to a temporary shelter by an enforcement officer.

Home affairs will only be issuing temporary IDs, replacement birth certificates and death certificates during the lockdown, and will be operating with reduced staffing.

Parents with share custody of children were advised that they would need to decide by Thursday night whose household that child would be staying with for the duration of the lockdown.

South Africans were advised that pictures being circulated on social media of the army in cities were fake news. The army would be deployed, but only in a supportive role to the police.

Police Minister Bheki Cele had this to say:

“Following the declaration of a nationwide lockdown by the President this past Monday, we have sat as the JCPS Cluster and the South African Police Service, to outline and intensify the measures we would be implementing to make sure that the intentions of this lockdown are realised.

“With the subsequent deployment of the SANDF, we will be increasing visibility and conduct integrated foot patrols, roadblocks, vehicle checkpoints as of 23h59 on Thursday evening 26 March 2020. Metro Police Departments as well as other Law Enforcement Agencies will form part of these joint operations that will be conducted for the duration of the lockdown. Operations, especially roadblocks, will be conducted at sector policing level within communities and residential areas, on provincial and national roads. This will ensure that the movement of people and vehicles is kept to the minimum, with the exception of the transportation of essential goods and/or services which include fire and medical emergency services.

“At these roadblocks particularly on provincial and national roads, motorists, especially essential service workers that cross provincial borders, will be subjected to screening by officials from the Department of Health.

“In terms of the new regulations that have just been gazetted, Police will be responsible to ensure the restriction of movement of persons and goods. Therefore, there shall be absolutely no gatherings other than for a funeral, where the number of mourners will be restricted to 50. Still on funerals, we need to emphasise that even night vigils will be prohibited.

“Last weekend with the previous COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations, we were inundated with requests for clarity and a lot of other questions around the selling and consumption of liquor. This time around with the National Lockdown, the selling of liquor is strictly prohibited. This is applicable to also those supermarkets with liquor licences. No liquor will be sold anywhere by anyone during the 21-day period of the lockdown.

“Equally, the movement of liquor between any two points is also strictly prohibited as per the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations.

“The President in declaring the lockdown made exception to essential goods and services. A detailed list clarifying what these are is attached as one of the Annexures in the Regulations. Only those goods and services that appear on these Annexures will be allowed. Anything outside of these lists will not be entertained.

“Therefore, anyone found to be in contravention of the Regulations, shall be found guilty and on conviction will be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both.

“We have noted the fear and the possibility of the escalation of gender-based violence that could come as a result of liquor now being consumed at home. As an extra measure, we have plans in place to beef up our FCS Units (Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences) to deal with this threat. The number 0800 150 150 can be used to report incidents of gender based violence for urgent response.

“Meanwhile, all forms of crime must be reported. Our 10111 will remain fully functional during the lockdown period. The Crime Stop number is also functional and can be used to give anonymous tip offs on suspected criminal activities. Also, police and the SANDF will be visible in the streets conducting foot patrols.

“Ladies and gentlemen, the simplest and best way to combat the spread of the coronavirus, is to adhere to the call by the President and STAY HOME. The only time you should be outside of your home should be to acquire essential services such as medical attention, food, or other goods and services as listed in the Annexure to the Regulations.

“Cooperation from the public is the best way to win this battle. I must appreciate the calls and tip-offs we got last weekend reporting people who were ignoring the Disaster Management Regulations. In fact, it is exactly that stubborn behaviour that has now caused us a national lockdown.

“Again I warn, failure to respect and obey the laws this time around could drive us straight into a state of emergency. The situation we find ourselves in demands that we all be responsible and take the necessary precautions.

“Let us unite against the virus. Remember, our aim is to arrest the virus not to arrest people.”

You can read the full regulations in full below.

Final Lockdown Regulations by Charles Cilliers on Scribd

For more news your way, download The Citizen’s app for iOS and Android.

Access premium news and stories

Access to the top content, vouchers and other member only benefits