On Monday evening, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced new lockdown regulations, and added to the national hot spot list.
The Sarah Baartman district, and the Garden Route district have now also been declared as hot spots, along with the Nelson Mandela Bay municipality.
These are the new national lockdown rules from midnight tonight:
All beaches will be closed in all of the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route district, from 16 December to 3 January.
In KwaZulu-Natal, beaches will be closed on 16, 25, 26 and 31 December as well as 1, 2 and 3 January.
Beaches and public parks in the Western Cape and Northern Cape will remain open.
Beaches that are open, can only be visited from 09:00 and 18:00.
Sale of alcohol curbed
Retailers may only sell alcohol from 10:00 and 18:00 from Monday to Thursday, but wineries may continue to offer tastings over weekends.
Alcohol consumption in all public spaces is strictly prohibited.
New curfew, and bars and restaurants must close earlier
A curfew has been extended and will now be from 23:00 to 04:00. Bars and restaurants must close at 22:00 to allow staff to get home.
“We should all remember that the hours of curfew also apply to Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This means that we will all need to make changes to the way in which we celebrate these occasions,” Ramaphosa said.
Size of gatherings
Gatherings, including religious gatherings, may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor and 250 for outdoor events.
Ramaphosa said that “the sad truth about this pandemic is that festivals, concerts and parties are proving to be sources of infection and illness, and even sources of death”. He added that the now-infamous Rage festival in Ballito is a harsh reminder of how dangerous these large gatherings can be.
The total number of people inside a building may not exceed 50% of the capacity.
All gatherings must show social distancing measures, and provide hand sanitiser.
All post-funeral gatherings are prohibited.
Stricter enforcement of Alert Level 1 restrictions
Drivers and operators of any form of public transport must ensure that all passengers must wear masks. “The more we travel, the greater the potential for the spread of the virus,” Ramaphosa warned.
Owners of buildings, and managers of offices and stores must also make sure that everyone entering wear masks.
Those who do not enforce compliance will be liable for a fine or imprisonment of up to six months.
“These festive season restrictions will be reviewed in early January based on the state of the pandemic across the country,” Ramaphosa said of the new regulations.
The new rules come as South Africa struggles with a large increase in infections, with the government’s daily Covid-19 report recording almost 8,000 new cases on Sunday.
More than 860,000 Covid cases have now been reported in South Africa, and Ramaphosa said the number could soon reach 1 million The average daily number of Covid deaths has increased by 50% over the past week, compared to the previous week. In the Eastern Cape, on average more than 70 people are dying every day, with more than 40 in the Western Cape.
“There can no longer be any doubt that South Africa has entered a second wave of Coronavirus infections. If we do not act urgently and act together, the second wave will be even more severe than the first wave,” Ramaphosa warned.
For the first time, most of the new infections are recorded among young people 15 to 18 ages.