Police minister Bheki Cele at a roadblock in Nelson Mandela Bay last week. Picture: WERNER HILLS
Police minister Bheki Cele at a roadblock in Nelson Mandela Bay last week. Picture: WERNER HILLS

The police will rigorously enforce the law requiring the compulsory wearing of masks in public places, police minister Bheki Cele warned on Tuesday.

Those who do not wear a mask will “definitely be arrested”, the minister said at a media conference held by co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, health minister Zweli Mkhize and justice and correctional services minister Ronald Lamola on the new regulations under the level 3 of the lockdown announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night.

Ramaphosa announced the introduction of a 9pm to 6pm curfew; prohibition of the sale, distribution and transportation of alcohol; the closure of night clubs, bars, shebeens and taverns; and the compulsory wearing of masks in public places. Those needing to work during curfew hours will require a permit.

The wearing of masks — regarded as essential to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 virus but largely ignored at superspreader social gatherings — will be a legal requirement and failure to comply will be an offence liable for a fine or jail of up to six months.

“We will make sure there are consequences,” Cele said, noting that problems around mask wearing have existed for a very long time. Talks are under way with the SA Defence Force about the use of the military to assist the police in enforcing the regulations should this be necessary.

Lamola said fines to be imposed for not wearing a mask will be determined by magistrates.

Those who do not wear a mask will definitely be arrested.
Bheki Cele

Nothing has changed in terms of international travel in the new regulations. It will only be permitted if the traveller can provide a valid certificate of a negative test obtained more than 72 hours before the date of travel.

Upon failure to submit a certificate on arrival travellers will be required to do an antigen test at their own cost. If tested positive for Covid-19 they will be required to quarantine themselves at their own cost. International air travel is restricted to  OR Tambo, King Shaka and Cape Town international airports.

The regulations stipulate that masks will not have to be worn by people undertaking vigorous exercise in a public place, provided that they maintain a distance of at least 1.5m from any other person. Mkhize said vigorous exercise is that which entails heavy breathing which requires the lifting of a mask to get more air.

Mask wearing will be compulsory at places of work.

In terms of the regulations bus and taxi services may not carry more than 70% of the licensed capacity for long-distance travel (200km or more) and may carry 100% of the licensed capacity for short trips. All passengers will be required to wear a mask.

The tasting and selling of liquor to the public by registered wineries, wine farms and other similar establishments registered as micromanufacturers, is prohibited. Alcohol can, however, be transported for export purposes.

All indoor and outdoor gatherings including those of faith-based organisations are prohibited for two weeks after which this measure will be reviewed. Gatherings at political events and traditional council meetings are also prohibited.

Gatherings at restaurants, conferencing, dining and entertainment facilities gyms, cinemas, theatres, casinos, museums, galleries, libraries and archives are limited to 50 persons or less for indoor venues and 100 persons or less for outdoor venues. If  the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least 1.5m from each other, not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.

Cinemas, theatres, casinos, gyms and restaurants among other establishments must close at 8pm.

Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts. timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses are allowed full capacity of the available rooms for accommodation, with patrons observing a distance of at least 1.5m from each other when in common spaces.

Attendance of a funeral is limited to a maximum of 50 people as long as they observe a distance of at least 1.5m from each other. If the venue is too small to hold 50 people observing a distance of at least 1.5m from each other, not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used. Night vigils are not allowed.

During a funeral, a person must wear a face mask and adhere to all health protocols and social distancing measures. The duration of a funeral is restricted to a maximum of two hours.

Initiation practices are prohibited nationally with no new initiations permitted, except for those who are already in an initiation school in the Eastern Cape Province, who will be allowed to complete it.

ensorl@businesslive.co.za

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