SA moves to Level-4 COVID-19 lockdown

President Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on Thursday, April 23, 2020

South Africa Publication April 2020

Measures going forward:

As part of the approach to resume economic activity in South Africa, there will be five Alert levels:

  • Level 5 (current level): drastic measures are required to contain the spread
    of the virus to save lives.
  • Level 4: some activity can be allowed to resume subject to extreme precautions required to limit community transmission and outbreaks.
  • Level 3: the easing of some restrictions, including on work and social activities, to address a high risk of transmission.
  • Level 2: the further easing of restrictions, but the maintenance of physical distancing and restrictions on some leisure and social activities to prevent a resurgence of the virus.
  • Level 1: most normal activity can resume, with precautions and health guidelines followed at all times.

The national coronavirus alert level will be lowered from Level 5 to Level 4 with effect from Friday, May 1, 2020.

Next Steps:

  • Government has undertaken a detailed exercise to classify the different parts of the economy according to the risk of transmission in that sector, the expected impact of the lockdown, the economic contribution of the sector and the effect on livelihoods.
  • Relevant Ministers will provide a detailed briefing on the classification of industries and how each is affected at each level.
  • Industry bodies will be given an opportunity to consider these details and make submissions before new regulations are gazetted.

Following the move to Level 4, some businesses will be allowed to begin operating under strict parameters, namely:

  • Every business will have to adhere to detailed health and safety protocols to protect their employees and prevent the spread of infection.
  • All businesses that are permitted to resume operations will be required to do so in a phased manner, first preparing the workplace for a return to operations, followed by the return of the workforce in batches of no more than one-third. In some cases, a sector will not be able to return to full production during Level 4 while the risk of infection remains high. These will be spelt out next week following a final round of consultations.
  • Businesses will be encouraged to adopt a work-from-home strategywhere possible and all staff who can work remotely must be allowed to do so.

When the country moves to Level 4 on May 1, 2020:

  • Our borders will remain closed to international travel, except for the repatriation of South African nationals and foreign citizens.
  • No travel will be allowed between provinces, except for the transportation of goods and exceptional circumstances such as funerals.
  • Public transport will continue to operate, with limitations on the number of passengers and stringent hygiene requirements, including that all passengers must wear a face mask.
  • The public is encouraged to stay at home, other than for essential personal movement, doing essential work and work in sectors that are under controlled opening.
  • People can exercise under strict public health conditions.
  • All gatherings, apart from funerals and for work, will remain prohibited.
  • Those who are elderly, and those with underlying conditions, must remain at home and take additional precautions to isolate themselves.
  • The sale of cigarettes will be permitted.
  • The range of goods that may be sold will be extended to incorporate certain additional categories. These will be detailed by the relevant Ministers.
  • All South African’s have been called to wear a face mask when leaving home.

Several restrictions will remain in place regardless of the level of alert for as long as the risk of transmission is present:

  • Bars and shebeens will remain closed.
  • Conference and convention centres, entertainment venues, cinemas, theatres, and concerts will remain closed.
  • Sporting events, and religious, cultural and social gatherings will not be allowed until it is deemed safe for them to continue.

The President announced that each relevant Minister would provide a detailed briefing on the classification of industries and how they are affected at each level.

As soon as this information is provided, we will send out further details.

Take care, stay safe and be healthy.


Chief Executive Officer, South Africa; Head of Risk Advisory, South Africa; Director

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