DA and John Steenhuisen to approach the courts over decision on schools

DA Leader John Steenhuisen. Image via: Ziyaad Douglas / Gallo

Could ‘lockdown stages’ – like we have for load shedding – work in SA?

The DA presented their ‘Smart Lockdown’ system, which proposes an alternative way to restore normality in stages for South Africa. Here’s how it would work.

DA and John Steenhuisen to approach the courts over decision on schools

DA Leader John Steenhuisen. Image via: Ziyaad Douglas / Gallo

We might all be in this together, but the DA has submitted some alternatives plans for South Africa’s best way forward. They have introduced their “Smart Lockdown” system, which aims to get the country back on its feet through a step-by-step process – and yes, it borrows some of its ideals from our load shedding schedule.

First load shedding, now ‘lockdown stages’?

What we’d give for a power cut or two to be our biggest problem right now. DA leader John Steenhuisen has explained that there should be four colour-coded stages of lockdown, ranging from “hard” (red) to “open” (green). Each stage would gradually allow businesses to re-open, schools to welcome children back to their classrooms, and eventually allow controlled social gatherings to take place.

The different stages wouldn’t necessarily happen in chronological order, either: Steenhuisen has vowed to continuously review the data and figures relating to this enormous health crisis, to make a series of informed decisions. So one week, it’s possible we could be in open lockdown – but a change in circumstances might mean we need to revert back to a hard lockdown for a certain amount of time.

The thinking behind the plans

According to the veteran politician, something must be done to keep the economy ticking over:

“By implementing the Smart Lockdown, South Africa can not only continue to contain the current outbreak, but ensure the revival of our ailing economy. Furthermore, through stimulus packages and policy reform we can cushion South Africa against the economic fallout of the existing lockdown.

“We need to remember that the South African context is unique. Through our Smart Lockdown, we believe that we can protect both lives and livelihoods, ensuring that South Africa defeats the disease and emerges from the outbreak with a capable and competitive economy which will sustain and create jobs.”

John Steenhuisen

How the DA’s lockdown stages would work:

Red: Stage 4 – hard lockdown

  • All of our current lockdown restrictions apply.

Orange: Stage 3 – soft lockdown

  • All primary and secondary sectors can be opened, where PPE can be provided for workers and social distancing measures adhered to.
  • All economic activity in the primary sector (agriculture, mining) to operate as per normal. Tradesmen (plumbers, electricians) may also operate.
  • Informal traders with permits and trading in designated trading areas may operate.
  • Workers who can work from home, even in these sectors, should still be encouraged to do so.
  • Restaurants may open but may only fulfil delivery and collection orders.
  • While all retail stores will now be open, encourage home delivery of essential and non-essential goods.
  • Movement between provinces of goods, other domestic travel remains restricted.
  • Social gatherings of 10 or over not permitted, and masks remain mandatory in all public areas.

Yellow: Stage 2 – soft open

  • All businesses to open subject to availability of PPE for employees and strict physical distancing measures adhered to.
  • Restriction of opening hours for restaurants and bars, but all public institutions to open.
  • Encourage physical distancing at schools e.g. Teachers to ensure breaks at desks situated appropriate distance apart instead of the playground.
  • Open up social gatherings of 100 or less where strict distancing measures will be adhered to.
  • Permit movement between provinces, including domestic air travel and flights to low-risk countries.
  • Ability to seek non-chronic and non-emergency medical care and virtual consultations encouraged. Masks remain mandatory in all public areas.

Green: Stage 1 – open

  • All travel except to and from high-risk countries allowed.
  • In-bound travellerS must be tested and isolated if necessary.
  • Public gatherings of fewer than 500 permitted, subject to the use of PPE and adherence to social distancing.
  • This is the nearest to “normal” we can get until lockdown is fully lifted.

Photo: DA