What does Level 3 mean for you, and Atlas Security?

On Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa would return to Level 3 lockdown with “strengthened” changes.

Under the new regulations, the wearing of a cloth mask in public is now mandatory. If a person is caught not wearing a mask, on conviction they are liable for a fine or be imprisoned for up to six months or be fined and imprisoned.

What does this mean for Atlas Security…? Well, essentially nothing changes, it’s business as usual. Our Armed Response vehicles continue their patrols and respond to your alarm, for whatever emergency. We have made operational changes to ensure that both you and our staff are safe, these changes by no means affect our ability to deliver the service you’ve become accustomed to.

This is what we know so far about the new rules for South Africa’s lockdown.

Curfew

Under lockdown level 3, every person will be confined to their place of residence from 21h00 to 06h00, and will not be allowed out unless they are granted exemption from a relevant cabinet minister via regulation (essential services), or need to attend to a medical emergency.

Businesses will have to close their doors at 20h00. This includes:

  • Cinemas;
  • Theatres;
  • Casinos;
  • Museums, galleries and archives;
  • Gyms and fitness centres;
  • Restaurants;
  • Venues hosting auctions; and
  • Venues hosting professional sport.

Wearing masks

Wearing face masks is now mandatory for every person in a public place.

Any person who fails to comply with a verbal instruction by an enforcement officer to wear one is committing an offence and may face prosecution.

This could results in a fine, or jail time not exceeding six months, or both.

You will not be allowed to use public transport or enter any public buildings without a mask. Employers are not allowed to let their employees work without a face mask.

The only exception in the gazette is that a face mask is not required when doing ‘vigorous exercise’ – however it is up to the minister of health to determine what constitutes this type of exercise.


Businesses and venues

Business and venues have to determine the area of floor space on their premises and use this information to determine the exact number of customers and employees allowed at any given time.

Social distancing measures need to be enforced at all times, and sanitisers must be available for use.

Failure to follow these regulations is an offence and can result in a fine or imprisonment, or both.

The following are closed to the public:

  • Night clubs;
  • Swimming pools (except for professional training);
  • Bars, taverns and shebeens;
  • Public parks, including facilities there, where there is no access control;
  • Beaches, parks and dams in hotspot areas.

Funerals

Attendance at funerals is limited to a maximum of 50 people, and the duration is limited to 2 hours.

Night vigils are not allowed, and after-funeral gatherings are banned.

At funerals, attendees must wear a mask, and venue capacity may not exceed 50%.


Gatherings

All gatherings, including faith-based gatherings are prohibited for 14 days. This includes political and traditional council events.

Gatherings for the purposes of work are permitted, but need to follow strict social distancing measures.

  • Cinemas, theatres, casinos, museums, libraries, sporting grounds, restaurants and auctions are allowed to continue operating, but are limited to 50 people or less indoors and 100 people or less outdoors, and are subject to the same strict social distancing measures.

At no point can the number of people exceed 50% of a venue’s capacity, if it is too small to take 50 people.

  • Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts and resorts are allowed to take full capacity of available rooms for accommodation, with social distancing measures in place.

However, dining and entertainment facilities at these places must follow the same guidelines as above.

  • Supermarkets, shops, stores and pharmacies are limited only to 50% of floor space.

Sports

Sport event, both professional and non-professional are allowed, but must follow the new regulations which include:

  • No spectators are allowed to attend matches;
  • Only the required number of players, match officials and support staff are allowed;
  • Journalists, TV crews, security personnel, emergency services and venue employees are allowed at the venue;
  • International events may only be held with teams from low or medium risk countries;
  • Any other directions issued by the sport or health minister.

Travel

Travel is still permitted. It is up to the ministers of transport and health to determine the specific directions for this sector.

However, the regulations specify that these departments need to prepare for the return of South Africans to work, and need to lay out the plans for domestic air travel and other public transport systems.

Some specifics for public transport include:

  • Bus and taxi services may not carry more than 70% capacity for long-distance travel (>200km), and may carry 100% capacity for any other trip.
  • Drivers may not allow any passengers to travel without a mask.

Alcohol

Alcohol sales are banned, for both off-site and on-site consumption.

Consumption of alcohol in public spaces is prohibited, and wine tasting and the selling of liquor to the public in any form is not allowed.

Transporting liquor is also banned, except where it’s for the use in the manufacturing of hand sanitisers and household cleaning products, for export purposes, or for storage.