While the lockdown has officially been scaled down to alert level 2, people are being urged to remain cautious and maintain safety protocols as new cases of Covid-19 are still being reported.
On Saturday August 15 President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country would move to level 2 from midnight on Monday August 17.
The move comes as many sectors bemoaned the lockdown and the effect it was having on the economy.
Despite the relaxed restrictions, the president advised citizens to maintain physical distancing and restrictions on leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
“As we look back at the last five months all indications are that South Africa has reached the peak and moved beyond the inflection point of the curve,” he said as he addressed the nation on Saturday night.
“Most of our health facilities have proven resilient, capable and able to withstand and deal with the surge.”
He added that residents should not let their guard down as the risk of infection did not diminish.
Under level 2, outlets with off-consumption liquor licenses can again sell alcohol but only from Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm, while restaurants can serve alcohol until 10pm.
Cigarettes and other nicotine products are on sale again.
The 10pm to 4am curfew will, however remain in place.
Social events are permitted at places of residents but is limited to 10 or fewer visitors, faith based institutions, funerals and work places are allowed to have up to 50 persons. The same applies to fitness centres, libraries, museums, sports events, beaches, public parks, weddings theatres, concerts, casinos, shebeens, restaurants, live performances and any other functions.
It is also still mandatory for every person to wear a face mask when in a public place.
Cape Town Mayor Dan Plato welcomed the announcement, describing it as a step in the right direction to get the economy going full steam. However, he said: “Now that we are seeing a continued drop in infections, we must not become complacent, and we should all continue to practise the safety measures that we have all become accustomed to over recent months.”
Premier Alan Winde said while the province’s residents were longing to go back to the way things were before the pandemic, this would not be possible right now.
“Covid-19 is going to be with us for the rest of the year at least, and until such stage as there is a vaccine.”
As a result the Western Cape Government has adopted a targeted hot spot plan to tackle the spread of Covid-19 in high population areas where high transmission rates are still occurring.
These include a health response with more targeted screenings and tests in hot spot areas for Covid-19, more contact tracing, introducing effective surveillance systems in places of gathering and continuing to spread awareness.
The health department’s southern substructure spokesperson, Natalie Watlington, said communities must remain vigilant.
She confirmed that Grassy Park was among the hot spots which had been identified and where infections were still increasing.
She advised high risk patients to access clinics should they need assistance – this includes diabetic patients as they are most at risk of experiencing serious symptoms with regards to Covid-19.