Sit-down restaurants, casinos and accredited accommodation will soon open to the public — under stringent conditions — after being closed for over 80 days since the lockdown was announced in March.

Personal care services, including salons and personal beauty services, will also be permitted to offer their services, while sports lovers will soon be able to play contactless games, with some contact sport to be allowed with defined restrictions.

Addressing the nation in a live televised broadcast on Wednesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa said many industries have been affected in the country and unable to earn a living.

“There are businesses that haven’t earned an income or revenue, and individuals who haven’t earned a salary for over 80 days, even with the measures we put in place to support companies, workers and poor households as part of the R500 billion relief package that we announced,” the President said.

When President Ramaphosa announced in May that the country would be moving to alert level 3 from 1 June, he said government would give consideration to re-opening other sectors of the economy, if the necessary safety precautions were put in place and maintained.

“Therefore, following discussions with industry representatives on stringent prevention protocols, and after advice from scientists and consultation with Premiers, Cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on certain other economic activities,” the President said on Wednesday.

Industries due to reopen soon

  • Restaurants for ‘sit-down’ meals.
  • Accredited and licensed accommodation, except home-sharing accommodation like Airbnb.
  • Conferences and meetings for business purposes and in line with restrictions on public gatherings.
  • Cinemas and theatres, to be aligned to limitations on the gathering of people.
  • Casinos.
  • Personal care services, including hairdressers and beauty services.
  • Non-contact sports such as golf, tennis, cricket and others.
  • Contact sports will be allowed only for training and modified activities with restricted use of facilities.

However, these businesses need to adhere to strict safety requirements, which need to be put in place before they can reopen.

Detailed measures and the date from which these activities will be permitted will be announced in due course.

“We have taken this decision with due care and seriousness, appreciating the risks associated with each activity and the measures needed to manage those risks,” said the President.

While some of these industries may have suffered a huge blow, the First Citizen said these businesses employed over 500 000 people before the lockdown.

Therefore, he said, Cabinet thought very hard about the people and those who depend on them for their livelihoods.

Meanwhile, he said, government continues to balance the superseding objective of saving lives, while preserving livelihoods.

President Ramaphosa said many other countries are in the same boat during this global pandemic and are resolving similar dilemmas. “We are therefore working closely with international agencies and other countries in responding to Coronavirus.”

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