Mask South Africa flag level 1 lockdown changes

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SA’s next lockdown changes: What could life under Level 1 look like?

Our current lockdown restrictions may seem quite liberating, but Level 1 will bring even more normality back into our lives – here’s what will change next.

Mask South Africa flag level 1 lockdown changes

Photo: Adobe Stock

Yes, we know… there’s a chance we might be getting a little ahead of ourselves by looking at the possible lockdown changes that’ll come into effect during Level 1. After all, South Africa is only on its third day of Level 2 restrictions – but as we learned this week, a sudden leap forward can come out of the blue.

When could South Africa move to Level 1?

Last week, a shift to Level 2 looked like an outside bet. Just a few days later, it was announced by President Ramaphosa. Things can move very fast in Cabinet if the country is accelerating its lockdown policies. If the same happens again with Level 1, none of us want to be caught off-guard…

That’s why we’ve put together a list of all the changes that are likely to happen when we enter our final and most easy-going stage of lockdown. Level 1 could be either weeks or months away, but if South Africa can keep its COVID-19 infections to a minimum, our transition to the next phase will look something like this.

Level 1 regulations: What lockdown changes will happen next?

No more curfew?

The nighttime shutdown of 22:00 – 4:00 is likely to be scrapped at Level 1, as the government’s own coronavirus guidance suggests there will be ‘no limitation on personal movement’ at this stage.

Extended hours to retail alcohol on the cards

Should we come through Level 2 successfully, the discussion about easing restrictions on alcohol sales can begin. There would likely be an extension of the days and hours booze can be sold.

A possible return for nightclubs

By their very nature, nightclubs cannot operate during curfew. Once this is lifted, and if the infection rate has dropped substantially, party-goers may get the opportunity to revel through the night. Of course, this would all be accompanied by strict health and hygiene protocols.

Cruise ship activity listed

Although a number of boating and aquatic activities were given the go-ahead this week, cruise ships and sea-travel to other countries is off-limits. But government guidance states ‘all ocean transport is permitted‘ at Level 1, bringing cruises and similar excursions back into business.

Larger gatherings could be permitted

Despite Level 1’s eased restrictions, a ‘lockdown’ will still be in place. When we move forward to the next Alert Phase, it’ll be because the threat of COVID-19 has eased – and the maximum limits on gatherings (10 people for a house gathering, 50 people in a public space) could be relaxed within the next couple of months.

More politicians ‘likely’ to return to Parliament

Our MPs are struggling with Zoom meetings. If larger gatherings are permitted, we could see a busier National Assembly at some point before December.

Mask-wearing, sanitisation to stay

You’ll need to get used to this: The new normal is here, and these two practices will remain part of everyday life for the foreseeable future.

Grey areas: Some changes may have to wait for post-lockdown

International travel

Government guidelines confirm that ‘all air travel is permitted‘ at Level 1 of lockdown. However, this doesn’t implicitly suggest that the borders will open. This is one aspect that will have to be clarified nearer the time.

Attending sports matches

Although it’s unlikely that we will be able to pack-out stadiums, the government could follow models seen in mainland Europe and the UK, where spectators are allowed to watch matches as part of a ‘reduced capacity’.

State of Disaster laws

Will they be renewed every month? Or will they be dropped by the time Level 1 comes around? The controversial legislation is facing an increasing amount of opposition, but may be required to keep an active lockdown in place – even if Level 1 is the softest of the bunch.