You don’t have to wear a mask if you are outdoors in South Africa from today following the relaxation of COVID-19 regulations announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
However, the wearing of masks indoors in public places is still mandatory, but “after tears” funeral gatherings remain banned, Ramaphosa said on Tuesday night.
The president, however, encouraged people who have not yet vaccinated to do so saying it was the surest way to avoid severe illness and possibly death.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (COGTA), Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma has gazetted the amended Covid-19 Alert Level 1 Regulations making them effective from today, Wednesday.
The amendment was made under the Disaster Management Act, 2002, which has been extended to next month, 15 April.
“The amendments now permit for people to not wear a face mask when outdoors or attending outdoor events,” said Dlamini Zuma.
In respect to a gathering in any indoor public venue, it remains mandatory to wear a face mask, with the exception of children under the age of six, as long as all health protocols are followed with a distance of at least one metre from each other.
All gatherings which are restricted to people who can produce a valid vaccination certificate or a valid certificate of a negative Covid-19 test, are allowed at up to 50% of the venue capacity.
“Gatherings which do not require proof of vaccination or valid vaccination certificate will be limited to 1000 people or less for indoor venues and 2 000 people or less for outdoor venues,” explained the COGTA minister.
“In this instance, if the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least one metre from each other, then not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used, subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures.”
All international travellers arriving at the country’s ports of entry must either provide a valid vaccination certificate, or a valid certificate of a negative Covid-19 test, recognised by the World Health Organisation, which was obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel.
While work is being done to contain the virus outside of the Disaster Management Act, the amended Regulations will assist the government in managing the Covid-19 pandemic while the National State of Disaster is in effect.
“We welcome the gazetting for public comment the Department of Health regulations relating to the surveillance and the control of notifiable medical conditions as proposed health regulations to deal with Covid-19 and other notifiable medical conditions outside the National State of Disaster,” said Dlamini Zuma.
“The gazetting of these regulations forms part of government’s transition plans from the current National State of Disaster and allows the public to have meaningful input into the decision-making process.
“Government remains committed to ensuring that South Africa responsibly adjusts back to normal life and urges all persons to play their part and join the countrywide drive to get vaccinated so that we may all be safe by protecting ourselves and those around us.”