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SA relaxes COVID-19 restrictions as alert level 1 kicks in

South Africa has announced COVID-19 lock down alert level 1 regulations with curfew hours extended from 4am to midnight.

In his address to the nation on Thursday night, Cyril Ramaphosa said non-essential establishments such as restaurants, bars, and fitness clubs must close by 11 p.m. so that employees and patrons can get home before the curfew kicks in.

As for outdoor venues, Ramaphosa said the number of people permitted to gather will increase from 500 to 2,000, while the number of people permitted to gather indoors will expand from 250 to 750.

“Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then 50 percent of the capacity of the place may be used. This includes religious services, political events and social gatherings, as well as restaurants, bars, taverns and similar places,”said Ramaphosa.

The President said the maximum number of people permitted at funerals will increase from 50 to 100, warning that night vigils, and “after-tears” will not be permitted.

“Of course, we all want to get back to doing many of the things we haven’t been able to do in the past two years. We want to be free to attend traditional ceremonies, birthday parties, weddings, and other social events with our friends and family,”he said.

“We yearn for a time when we can freely attend church, mosque, shul, and temple, and hug and shake hands without fear of being ill.The sports fans among us can’t wait to cheer for our teams at FNB, Moses Mabhida, Royal Bafokeng, Newlands, and Loftus,” he stated.

Ramaphosa said these freedoms, which we all want, are within our reach if we want to socialize freely again in restaurants, taverns, and theaters, as well as travel freely wherever we want to go.

He said we can only get there if we are all vaccinated, and we all continue to observe the basic health protocols.

Since we began our national vaccination campaign, the country has gained momentum. According to Ramaphosa, the government has administered over 17 million vaccine doses to date.

“Over 8.6 million people, or more than one-fifth of the adult population, are fully vaccinated. Significantly, 60% of South Africans over 60 years and 50% of those between 50 and 59 have already received at least one dose of the vaccine. These figures give us hope and confidence, “he said.

According to Ramaphosa, South Africa has set a goal of vaccinating 70% of the adult population by the end of the year.

“If we can meet our vaccine target by the end of the year, we will avoid more restrictions and accelerate our economic recovery.

I strongly encourage you to attend Vooma Vaccination Weekends. Let us all get our vaccinations. Let us take our unvaccinated friends and family members to get vaccinated. Let us work together to achieve our 70% target by December. Let’s pick up the pace a little bit,” Ramaphosa urged.

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