level 3

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Late-night gazette unbans hospitality industry; but questions still loom

The amendments come eight days Ramaphosa announced that further Level 3 measures would be relaxed to reopen the economy.

level 3

Photo: Adobe Stock

It’s official – restaurants, cinemas, casinos and theatres can officially welcome back their clients during Advanced Level 3.

A late night publication on Thursday 25 June of the latest government gazette signalled the end of regulations prohibiting key role-players in the hospitality industry’s capacity to contribute to the economy.

Unfortunately, the gazette lacked the detail provided in the prior publication outlining the regulations dictating the manner in which the personal care industry would be mandated to operate, and said that further information would follow at a later point clarifying specific health and safety protocols. 

Delayed response causes anxiety for hospitality industry 

The passing of the new regulations comes after an eight day wait was patiently observed by relieved hospitality industry stakeholders following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement of the move to advanced level 3 lockdown measures.

After government published a gazette detailing the measures the personal care industry would be required to observe, a deafening silence preceded, with restaurant owners — whose hopes of finally reopening their businesses to the extent that clients might could enjoy sit-down meals — left in the lurch wondering what regulations they would need to comply with. 

Fortunately, as of Friday 26 June, the following amendments will provide some clarity urgently requested by businesses in the hospitality trade. 

Which industries can now open in advance Level 3? 

The gazette confirmed the following amendments to lockdown Level 3:

Cinemas can operate with a limit of 50 people permitted to occupy theatres at once. 

The sale of tickets must proceed through an online booking system with strict adherence to health protocols and social distancing measures requisite for operation. 

Theatres must follow the same vague guidelines, with a maximum of 15 people (including live streaming or recording for distribution on digital platforms) permitted to perform.

An update to sporting activities was published, permitting non-contact sports matches, which may only include players, match officials, journalists, medical and television crew, under the strict condition that such activity is only designated for training. 

Health protocols – as mentioned in the previous industry guidelines – must be observed. 

Casinos can host at 50% capacity 

The gazette also featured further elaboration on another contentious industry permitted to reopen during the revised Level 3 regulations – casinos

South Africans were left scratching their heads when the announcement was made that casinos would be permitted for visits during Level 3 lockdown, mainly due to the fact that an overt irony exists in the fact that slot machines can roll but family members cannot be visited unless urgent 

The gazette ordered casinos to allow no more than 50% of their foot space to be occupied at any time, with “with patrons observing a distance of least one and a half metres from each other”.