COVID-19 REGULATIONS: 5-LEVEL FRAMEWORK
- Pursuant to the easing of the national lockdown effective from 24h00 on 30 April 2020, the President of the Republic of South Africa has announced that South Africa will adopt a 5-level staggered approach to re-opening the economy and easing the restrictions on public movement.
- On 29 April 2020 regulations were issued in terms of 27(2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002 (“the Regulations”) which repealed the prior regulations issued in terms of the same section. Notwithstanding such repeal, any prosecution, investigation, criminal or legal proceedings instituted prior to the issue of the Regulations shall continue as if the relevant provisions of the preceding regulations have not been repealed.
- In terms of section 15 of the Regulations, Alert Level 4 will be applicable from 1 May 2020 and will remain in force until such time as the Cabinet member for co-operative governance and traditional affairs, on recommendations received by the relevant Cabinet Ministers, declares a different alert level to be in force.
- This summary addresses the general provisions applicable for the duration of the National State of Disaster, the specific provisions relating to Alert Level 4 and the anticipated provisions applicable to the further alert levels.
GENERAL PROVISIONS APPLICABLE FOR THE DURATION OF THE NATIONAL STATE OF DISASTER
- Face masks: cloth face masks or homemade items that cover the nose and mouth are required to be worn by all persons when in public places. Entry into public transport or any building shall be prohibited if a person is not wearing a face mask. Employers must provide employees with face masks where employees come into direct contact with the public.
- Businesses and business premises
2.1 All business premises (including supermarkets) are to limit number of customers and employees in the premises at one time to ensure that there is not more than one person per 1.5 meter of floor space.
2.2 Hand sanitisers must be provided at the entrances of all business premises.
2.3 An employee or other suitable person must be assigned to ensure compliance by businesses with the Regulations, specifically regarding the hygienic conditions at the business premises.
2.4 Employers must adopt measures to promote physical distancing i.e. enabling employees to work from home, provision of adequate space, restriction on face-to-face meetings, special measures for those employees with known or disclosed health issues or comorbidities, and special measures for employees over 60 years old.
- Medical examination, prophylaxis, treatment, isolation and quarantine
3.1 No person who is –
3.1.1 a patient presenting with clinical signs and symptoms of COVID-19;
3.1.2 who has been diagnosed with COVID-19 as a clinical or laboratory confirmed case;
3.1.3 who is suspected of having contracted COVID-19; or
3.1.4 who has been in contact with a person who is a carrier of COVID-19,
may refuse to submit a medical examination and the taking of a bodily sample, or to be admitted to a health establishment or to quarantine or an isolation site, or to submit to mandatory prophylaxis, treatment, isolation, or quarantine.
3.2 A person who is a clinical case, or who is on reasonable grounds suspected to be infected or contaminated with COVID-19 must comply with oral instructions or written directions of a medical practitioner or person authorised by such medical practitioner to isolate or quarantine pending determination of such person’s COVID-19 status. Sites for isolation and quarantine have been and will be identified as the need arises should the patient not be able to isolate or quarantine himself.
- Contact tracing
4.1 A database shall be developed to enable the tracing of persons who are known or reasonably suspected to have come into contact with any person known or reasonably suspected to have contracted COVID-19. When being tested for COVID-19, the person taking the sample will obtain personal information on the subject and a picture of the person being tested to add to the database.
4.2 Every accommodation establishment must submit to the Director General: Health, for inclusion in the COVID-19 Database, the name, address, identification number, cell phone number, and a picture of each person who is staying at such establishment during the period of lockdown.
4.3 The Director General: Health may require, for the duration of the National State of Disaster, that an electronic communications services provider must submit information in respect of a person regarding the location or movements of –
4.3.1 a person known or suspected to have contacted COVID-19;
4.3.2 any person suspected to have come in contact with a person known or suspected to have contracted COVID19,
hereinafter the “Information”.
4.4 Nothing in the Regulations entitles the interception of electronic communications.
4.5 The Information may only be obtained, used, or disclosed by authorised persons, and only insofar as it is necessary for the purpose of addressing, preventing, or combatting the spread of COVID-19.
4.6 The information must be included in the national database insofar as it is necessary but may only be retained for a period of 6 weeks, after which it must be destroyed.
4.7 Within 6 weeks after the lapse or termination of the National State of Disaster –
4.7.1 each person whose Information was obtained must be notified; and
4.7.2 the national database shall be de-identified, or insofar as it is not de-identified, shall be destroyed.
- Release of resources
5.1 The Department of Defence must, for the duration of the National State of Disaster release all its available resources and ensure the delivery of essential services in so far as may be required to combat COVID-19.
5.2 Organs of state must, to the extent possible, release their personnel for the rendering of essential services.
5.3 National, local, and provincial government must make resources, including funding, available to assist with the implementation of the Regulations and shift their budgets accordingly.
5.4 National and provincial treasuries must take the steps necessary to implement the Regulations.
5.5 Donations received by institutions to assist with the state of disaster must be paid into the Reconstruction and Development Fund and used strictly for the purposes of implementing the Regulations.
- Shelters and sites
The state shall identify –
6.1 temporary shelters for the homeless; and
6.2 temporary sites for quarantine and self-isolation,
which meet health and safety requirements published by the Director General: Health.
- Emergency procurement measures
Emergency procurement for institutions will be subject to the Public Finance Management Act and the Municipal Finance Management Act.
- Powers and indemnity
The Regulations do not limit any powers and indemnities of security services provided for in law.
- Resolution of disputes
9.1 Parties in a dispute against an organ of state which may result in litigation may –
9.1.1 at any stage before commencement of the litigation refer the matter to arbitration; or
9.1.2 at any stage before judgment refer the matter to mediation.
9.2 Where mediation or arbitration has been agreed to, the Office of the Solicitor General will coordinate arrangements and the parties may agree that a retired judge preside over such mediation or arbitration, in which event no fees shall be payable to the aforementioned retired judge.
9.3 The Office of the State Attorney must, when faced with an abovementioned dispute falling within his jurisdiction, consider arbitration or mediation in consultation with the party (or such party’s legal representation) raising the dispute.
- Offences and penalties
10.1 A person who falsely and intentionally represents that he, she or any other person is infected with COVID-19 is, if convicted, guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or prison sentence for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.
10.2 A person who publishes false news with the intention to deceive another person about –
10.2.2 the COVID-19 infection status of any person; or
10.2.3 any measure taken by the government to address COVID-19,
is, if convicted, guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or prison sentence not exceeding 6 months, or both.
10.3 A person who intentionally exposes another to COVID-19 may be prosecuted for assault, attempted murder, or murder.
10.4 A person who fails to comply with the Regulations or directions issued in terms thereof is, if convicted, guilty of an offence and liable to a fine or prison sentence for a period not exceeding 6 months, or both.
ALERT LEVEL 4
Alert Level 4 will be applicable from 1 May 2020 and will remain in force until a different Alert Level is declared during the National State of Disaster.
- Movement of Persons
1.1 Every person remains confined to their place of residence. A person may only leave their place of residence to –
1.1.1 perform an essential service (e.g. purchase of essential goods, social grants, medical assistance);
1.1.2 perform a permitted service as allowed in Alert Level 4 and go to work only where a prescribed permit has been issued;
1.1.3 buy goods and obtain services that are permitted in Alert Level 4; or
1.1.4 walk, run or cycle between the hours of 06h00 and 09h00 within a 5-kilometre radius of their place of residence, provided that this is not done in organised groups.
1.2 Curfew: Every person is confined to their place of residence from 20h00 to 05h00 each day, except where such person has been granted a permit to perform an essential or permitted service or is attending to a security or medical emergency.
1.3 Geographical restrictions: Movement between provinces, metropolitan areas and districts remains prohibited except for –
1.3.1 workers commuting to and from work on a daily basis who have a permit to perform an essential or permitted service;
1.3.2 the attendance of funerals;
1.3.3 the transportation of mortal remains;
1.3.4 learners who have to commute to and from school or higher education institutions on a daily basis during periods where such institutions are permitted to operate; and
1.3.5 a once-off allowance for travel between provinces, metropolitan and district areas during the lockdown to enable persons who were not at their places of residence or work before the lockdown period to return to their places of residence and work where they are required to stay until the end of Alert Level 4.
- Movement of children
2.1 The movement of children between co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or a caregiver is allowed –
2.1.1 in the same metropolitan area or district municipality, only where such persons are in possession of a court order, parental agreement or parenting plan registered with the family advocate, or a permit issued by a magistrate; and
2.1.2 between different provinces, metropolitan areas or district municipalities is allowed only where the co-holders of parental responsibilities and rights or the caregiver are in possession of a permit issued by a magistrate.
2.2 Any child who was not at the residence of their primary caregiver before the lockdown period will be permitted on a once-off basis to return to the residence of their primary caregiver provided that the co-holders of the parental responsibilities and rights or caregiver of the child is in possession of a permit issued by a magistrate.
2.3 The house to which the child is to be moved must be free of COVID-19.
- Public transport
The Minister of Transport shall issue directions for the resumption of different modes of public transport to cater for the gradual return to work of people. The directions will set out the hygienic conditions that must be adhered to for the limitation of exposure of members of the public to COVID-19.
- Foreign tourists
All foreign tourists who arrived in South Africa prior to the lockdown period must remain in South Africa for the duration of Alert Level 4 save where their evacuation by air charter has been made by the relevant embassy.
- Emergency medical attention
The Minister of Home Affairs or a person delegated by him may allow a person to enter or exit South Africa for emergency medical attention for a life-threatening condition.
- Attendance of funerals
6.1 Direct relatives only: Movement between a province, metropolitan area or district by a person wishing to attend a funeral is only permitted if that person is a direct relative of the deceased, namely a spouse, partner, child, child-in-law, stepchild, parent, stepparent, sibling, stepsibling, or grandparent of the deceased.
6.2 Size of funeral: Attendance at a funeral remains limited to 50 people.
6.3 Night vigils remain prohibited.
6.4 Hygiene standards and social distancing measures must be adhered to at the funeral.
6.5 Permits issued by the nearest magistrate’s office or police station is required for a person, whether travelling alone or not, is required to travel between districts or provinces to attend the funeral. A person requesting such permit must produce a death certificate of the deceased (or a certified copy thereof). Where, due to religious or cultural practices, a funeral is required to be held within 24 hours and a death certificate is not yet available, such person must furnish a sworn affidavit in the prescribed form together with a letter from a cultural or religious leader confirming the need for a funeral within 24 hours.
6.6 Travel: A maximum of two authorised attendees of a funeral may travel in the vehicle transporting the mortal remains to the site of the funeral provided that the cause of death of the deceased is not COVID-19 related and the attendees are in possession of the prescribed permits.
- Requirement for businesses to appoint a COVID-19 compliance officer
All industries, businesses and entities (public and private) which are permitted to operate during Alert Level 4 are required to –
7.1 prior to reopening the workplace for business, develop a plan for the phased return of their employees to the workplace in the prescribed form, which plan must be retained for inspection;
7.2 designate a COVID-19 compliance officer to oversee the implementation of the aforesaid plan and the adherence of the business to standards of hygiene and health protocols;
7.3 develop measures to ensure that the workplace meets the standards of health protocols, adequate space and social distancing measures for the public and services providers.
- Prohibitions on evictions
A competent court may grant an order for the eviction of a person from land or a home in accordance with the applicable legislation, provided that such order shall be stayed and suspended until the last day of Alert Level 4 unless a court decides that it is not just and equitable to do so.
- Closure of borders
All South African borders will remain closed during the period of Alert Level 4, except for those designated ports of entry for the transportation of fuel, cargo and goods during Alert Level 4.
- Transportation of cargo
Rail, ocean, air and road transport is permitted for the movement of cargo within South Africa or to other countries, subject to national legislation, for the transportation of the following goods only –
10.1 essential goods for import, as defined in the Regulations;
10.2 goods permitted to be exported during the period of Alert Level 4;
10.3 the import of materials and components required for manufacturing activities allowed under Alert Level 4;
10.4 cargo at ports of entry and goods cleared at ports of entry for removal in transit through South Africa destined for neighbouring countries;
10.5 transport of goods within South Africa; and
10.6 any other goods as directed by the Transport Minister from time to time, taking into account health risks, restrained capacity at ports of entry and other factors relevant to the health, public order and economic effects of COVID-19.
All gatherings are banned, save for –
11.2 at a workplace; or
11.3 when buying or obtaining goods and services.
- Places & premises closed to the public
12.1 Any place or premise normally open to the public where religious, cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, organisational, or similar activities may take place and any place open to the public or where people may gather, are prohibited.
12.2 Persons rendering security and maintenance services may continue to perform these services.
- Controlled visits by members of the public
All visits by members of the public to –
13.1 correctional centres;
13.2 remand detention facilities;
13.3 police holding cells;
13.4 military detention facilities;
13.5 health establishments; and
13.6 facilities controlled or managed by the Department of Social Developments,
will be allowed to the extent and in the manner as directed by the responsible Cabinet member.
- Sale, dispensing or transportation of liquor
The sale, dispensing and distribution of liquor is prohibited unless the transportation is for export purposes or where the alcohol is required for industries producing hand sanitisers, disinfectants, soap, alcohol for industrial use or household cleaning products.
- Tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products
The sale of tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products is prohibited.
- Operation for economic sectors
16.1 Every person in control of a retail store or institution must take steps to ensure customers keep a distance of at least 1.5 meters from each other and designate a compliance official to ensure that the safety controls are adhered to.
16.2 Retail stores are prohibited from selling other goods that are not permitted.
16.3 Persons performing essential services or permitted services, must be duly designated in writing by the head of an institution, or a person designated by him or her.
- Energy and petroleum products supply
To ensure the continuous supply of energy and petroleum products –
17.1 collieries supplying Eskom may operate at full capacity; and
17.2 refineries and other facilities providing energy and fuel may operate at full capacity.
- Mining Operations
18.1 Open-cast mining scaling up to a baseline of 50% and thereafter scaling up to full employment. All other mining may operate, starting in batches scaling up towards 50% of employment.
18.2 Mining operations must be conducted at a reduced capacity of not more than 50% and thereafter at increasing capacity as determined by direction issued by the Cabinet member.
18.3 The following conditions apply to starting and increasing capacity –
18.3.1 appropriate measures to protect the health and safety of workers must be implemented;
18.3.2 rigorous screening and testing programmes;
18.3.3 provision of quarantine facilities for employees who have tested positive;
18.3.4 data collected during screening must be provided to the relevant authority; and
18.3.5 arrangements must be made to transport South African employees from their homes to their respective areas of operations.
- Offences and penalties
Any person who –
19.1 convenes a gathering; or
19.2 hinders, interferes with, or obstructs an enforcement officer in the exercise of his or her powers or the performance of his or her duties in terms of these Regulations,
shall, if convicted, be guilty of an offence and be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding 6 months or to both such fine and imprisonment
PROPOSED REGULATIONS FOR FURTHER ALERT LEVELS
The regulations relating to Alert Levels 1 to 3 have not yet been finalised and published, however, the proposed provisions are summarised below.
- Movement of persons
1.1 Level 3: walking, jogging and cycling is permitted.
1.2 Level 2: interprovincial travel is permitted.
1.3 Level 1: no limitations on personal movement but persons are encouraged to limit movement to essential travel.
- Financial & Business Services
2.1 Level 3: commercial real estate and the rental of motor vehicles, machinery and equipment, personal and household goods and other professional services to support other Level 3 services are permitted.
2.2 Level 2: all real estate activities and the rental of motor vehicles, machinery and equipment, personal and household goods and other professional services to support other Level 2 services are permitted.
2.3 Level 1: all financial and business services are permitted.
- Accommodation and Food services
3.1 Level 3: restaurants for food delivery services between the hours of 09h00 and 20h00 only is permitted (no sit-down or pick-up allowed).
3.2 Level 2: accommodation for business travel, except conferences is permitted.
3.3 Level 1: all accommodation and restaurants, including sit downs, take-away and delivery are permitted.
- Transport, Storage and Communication Services
4.1 Level 3: limited domestic air travel is permitted.
4.2 Level 2: limited domestic air travel is permitted for business.
4.3 Level 1: all air and ocean transport is permitted.
- Construction and Related Services
5.1 Level 3: regulations eased to include commercial building projects.
5.2 Level 2: regulations eased to include private residential projects.
5.3 Level 1: all construction projects permitted.
- Wholesale and Retail Trade
6.1 Level 3: regulations are eased to include the sale of hardware, components and supplies to the general public, household appliances, clothing, footwear, books, motor vehicle sales (subject to directions) and off premise consumption of alcohol (Monday to Wednesday, 08h00 – 12h00).
6.2 Level 2 & 1: all retail permitted, subject to directions.
- Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing
Levels 3, 2, & 1: all agricultural, hunting, forestry, fishing and related services (including the export of agricultural products) are permitted.
8.1 Level 3: automotive manufacturing (including components), cement and other construction material, steel and other material manufacturing, clothing, textiles, footwear and other chemicals manufacturing may commence scaling up in phases to 100% employment.
8.2 Level 2 & 1: all manufacturing scaling up to 100% employment.
- Information & Communication Services
9.1 Level 3 & 2: postal services and courier services (i.e. e-Commerce) related transport of retail goods are permitted, subject to directions.
9.2 Level 1: all postal and courier services are permitted.
- Mining & Quarrying
Level 3, 2 & 1: all mining scaling up to full employment.
- Private Households Employment
11.1 Level 3: persons supporting Level 3 personnel and live-in staff and gardening and swimming pool services permitted.
11.2 Level 2 & 1: all private household employment permitted.
- Public Administration, Government Services & Other Arms of State
12.1 Level 3: issuing of marriage certificates is permitted.
12.2 Level 2: new and replacement identification documents may be issued.
12.3 Level 1: all public administration and government services permitted.
- Health, Social & Personal Services
13.1 Level 3 & 2:
The following activities are permitted:
13.1.1 trade union essential staff for workers covered by Level 3, subject to directions;
13.1.2 recycling of glass, paper & metal including informal recyclers permitted at full
13.1.3 laundry and dry-cleaning services.
13.2 Level 1: other personal services and recreational, cultural and sporting activities and facilities may re-open.
- Repair & Related Emergency Services
14.1 Level 3: emergency automobile repairs for all persons permitted.
14.2 Level 2: all repair work and automobile repairs are permitted.
14.3 Level 1: all repair and related emergency services permitted.