Joy as South African government eases lockdown ahead of year-end celebrations

File Pic

On Thursday night, the government announced a raft of new lockdown regulations that essentially repealed the midnight curfew and restrictions on alcohol sales.

The move has been hailed by opposition parties and the tourism sector, which hopes the relaxation of Covid-19 restrictions will give the industry the jump start it needs after the devastating effect of the pandemic.

Here are five things South Africans can do from tonight that they could not do at the start of the week.

1. Attend midnight mass

The new lockdown rule changes announced after a Cabinet meeting on Thursday mean that there are no longer restrictions on gatherings after midnight, which allows churches to hold midnight mass.

That means the 23:00 closing time (set an hour before the general curfew so staff could get home on time) has been dropped for gyms, theatres and churches, in addition to restaurants, bars and shebeens.

That means any faith-based gathering is allowed any time of the day or night.

The only closing-time rules that still apply are those usually enforced by city by-laws, liquor licences or other regulations.

2. Gather indoors with up to 1000 people as long as the venue is big enough

Another change is the number of people that can gather indoors and outdoors. Where as before, the number of people that could gather indoors was limited to 750, this has now been extended to 1000 – as long as the venue is big enough and allows for physical distancing.

Venues that cannot hold as many people are still limited to 50 per cent capacity, with social distancing rules of 1.5m between people.

3. Be at a casino or nightclub beyond midnight

The new regulations allow licensed nightclubs and casinos to operate beyond midnight. This essentially means that casinos can now operate 24 hours a day.

4. Buy a drink after 11pm from an establishment that has a licence to trade

Under the old regulations, licensed establishments had to close their venues by 11pm to allow staff to be home at midnight for curfew. This meant that last rounds were generally called at around 9.30pm. The new rules mean that if you are out tonight, you can legally buy a drink after midnight from a licensed establishment.

5 . Throw a beach party at 1am

With midnight curfew being repealed there is nothing stopping anyone from throwing a beach party at 1am – as long as the local by-laws are adhered to.


Breaking News via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to our website and receive notifications of Breaking News by email.