It is official… after 818 days, South Africans are finally mask-free as the last three regulations have all been repealed.
South Africa (23 June 2022) – 818 days after the first regulations were enacted, the Minister of Health, Joseph Phaahla, repealed the final three COVID “safety measures” in South Africa gazetted with immediate effect.
South Africans rejoiced when it was announced that masks were no longer required when venturing outdoors – a collective inhalation of beautifully crisp air took place countrywide; now this is happening once again, but this time, you don’t need to wear masks indoors! Yes, you read that right. Covid-19 regulations have been adjusted once again to ease us back to how life was pre-pandemic. The new adjustments will affect three major parts of the regulations; these are masks, events and travel.
The regulations were promulgated by the Minister on 4 May in the Regulations Relating to the Surveillance and the Control of Notifiable Medical Conditions. President Cyril Ramaphosa in a national address in April said the regulations would be eased gradually.
The new regulations are as follows.
Masks – Regulation 16A
Face masks are an effective non-pharmaceutical intervention against the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The gazetting of the regulations means that the wearing of face masks in any public-use indoor space or when on public transport to contain the spread of COVID-19 fell away, as was required.
Should you still wish to wear your mask, you may do so.
Events – Regulation 16B
Events are at 100% capacity again. On gatherings, people congregating in public spaces will no longer be limited to certain numbers.
The regulations stipulated that a maximum of 50% of the venue capacity may be occupied, provided that every attendee must be vaccinated against COVID-19 and produce a valid vaccination certificate. Alternatively, they could produce a valid certificate of a negative COVID-19 test obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of the gathering.
Where the sub-regulation (3) was not complied with, then attendance at the indoor gathering had to be limited to 1000 people or 50% of the capacity, whichever is smaller.
For any outdoor gathering, a maximum of 50% of the venue capacity could be occupied.
Travel – Regulation 16C
Regarding limitations on people entering the country, the regulations required that any person entering the country be vaccinated against COVID-19 and produce a valid vaccination certificate.
Alternatively, this group of people needed to produce a valid certificate of a negative PCR COVID-19 test not older than 72 hours before the date of departure.
While the severity of the virus has become very low, we still encourage people to sanitise, social distance when near vulnerable people and isolate themselves should they get ill. Stay safe, readers and take care.