No dog-walk­ing, no al­co­hol sold dur­ing lock­down

The Herald (South Africa) - - Front Page - Genevieve Quin­tal and Luy­olo Mken­tane

South Africans will not be al­lowed to walk their dogs, or­der food from a restau­rant or buy al­co­hol dur­ing the 21-day na­tional lock­down to try to con­tain the spread of Covid-19, po­lice min­is­ter Bheki Cele said yes­ter­day.

The lock­down is in­tended to curb lo­cal trans­mis­sion of the virus, which has spread to all nine prov­inces.

As of yes­ter­day, the to­tal num­ber of re­ported cases stood at 709, with 319 cases in

Gaut­eng. Pres­i­dent Cyril Ramaphosa has an­nounced that the coun­try will go into the lock­down from mid­night to­day un­til April 16.

South Africans and busi­nesses have been un­sure about what they can and can­not do since the an­nounce­ment.

“There is no need to be on the road, no need to move around,” Cele said yes­ter­day dur­ing a brief­ing by the jus­tice clus­ter min­is­ters on lock­down reg­u­la­tions.

“There was a lit­tle bit of a story that you can walk your dogs. There shall be no dogs walked; it doesn’t en­hance the call made by the pres­i­dent.

“Walk your dog around the house. It … does not go be­yond that,” he said.

Govern­ment of­fi­cials gave con­tra­dic­tory mes­sages yes­ter­day about move­ment dur­ing the lock­down.

In an in­ter­view with the SABC ear­lier in the day, health min­is­ter Zweli Mkhize said dog own­ers and jog­gers would be al­lowed to hit the streets dur­ing the lock­down.

“There shouldn’t be a prob­lem with that,” he said.

But mere hours later Cele said it would not be al­lowed.

Af­ter Cele’s an­nounce­ment, Mkhize said that when he had an­swered the ques­tion about be­ing able to jog or walk dogs, he had said it was in line with the govern­ment’s thinking.

“But we saw the distractio­n it caused … it does not add any value to the lock­down,” he said.

Cele read through a list of pro­hi­bi­tions dur­ing the lock­down.

He said all restau­rants and food out­lets would be closed.

Food can only be bought at su­per­mar­kets that will re­main open.

“You buy food from these out­lets and go and cook at home,” the po­lice min­is­ter said.

Cele also an­nounced that no al­co­hol would be sold in the next three weeks.

Hos­pi­tals needed as many empty beds as pos­si­ble to pre­pare for the wors­en­ing of the pan­demic, and if peo­ple were not drink­ing al­co­hol there would be fewer ac­ci­dents and less vi­o­lence, he said.

“For 21 days please stay sober,” Cele said.

He said any­one who fails to ad­here to the reg­u­la­tions could face up to six months in prison, a fine or both.

“It is not a fairy tale to say the law will act and it will act very harshly on you. We hope to work to­gether here,” Cele said.

The po­lice min­is­ter said other ar­eas that would be closed in­cluded pub­lic parks, beaches, pub­lic swim­ming pools, night­clubs, she­beens, tav­erns, casi­nos, ho­tels, lodges and guesthouse­s.

Ad­dress­ing a me­dia brief­ing

in Pre­to­ria yes­ter­day af­ter­noon, trans­port min­is­ter Fik­ile Mbalula said the minibus taxi in­dus­try, which trans­ports 16.5-mil­lion pas­sen­gers a day, would only be al­lowed to trans­port es­sen­tial service work­ers dur­ing the 21-day lock­down pe­riod.

All rail ser­vices had been halted, he said.

The trans­port min­istry said it would main­tain a “skele­ton staff” for pur­poses of safe road op­er­a­tions, clear­ing of ac­ci­dents, main­te­nance of tun­nels as well as road traf­fic en­force­ment.

Mbalula said taxis that have been fi­nanced by Na­tional Taxi Fi­nance and ad­min­is­tered by the Small En­ter­prise Fi­nance Agency would be granted a three-month “re­pay­ment holiday”, ad­ding that com­mer­cial banks were con­sid­er­ing sim­i­lar mea­sures.

Ac­cord­ing to the reg­u­la­tions, me­tered taxis and e-hail­ing providers such as Uber and Bolt would be al­lowed to trans­port es­sen­tial service work­ers.

Oper­a­tors need to put mea­sures in place to ad­here to so­cial-dis­tance norms to curb the coro­n­avirus spread.

All minibus and me­tered taxis and e-hail­ing providers must be sani­tised af­ter each trip, while taxi ranks needed to be sani­tised at reg­u­lar in­ter­vals.

Mbalula said these ser­vices will be per­mit­ted from 5am to 9am and from 4pm to 8pm ev­ery day dur­ing the lock­down pe­riod.

Ve­hi­cles li­censed to carry up to four pas­sen­gers would be per­mit­ted to carry one pas­sen­ger, while those li­censed to would carry up to eight pas­sen­gers would be al­lowed to carry a max­i­mum of three pas­sen­gers. The trans­port min­is­ter said lim­ited bus op­er­a­tions would be al­lowed only for ren­der­ing es­sen­tial ser­vices, and all cross-bor­der road pas­sen­ger move­ments would be pro­hib­ited for the du­ra­tion of the lock­down.

“Cross-bor­der freight move­ment for es­sen­tial goods will con­tinue to and from our neigh­bour­ing coun­tries.”

All long-dis­tance pas­sen­ger rail ser­vices, both pub­lic and pri­vate, will stop op­er­a­tions for the du­ra­tion of the lock­down.

The ser­vices of Shosholoza Meyl, Pre­mier Classe, and the Blue Train have al­ready been sus­pended, while Metro­rail and the Gau­train will cease op­er­a­tions when the lock­down be­gins.

All in­ter­na­tional and do­mes­tic flights are pro­hib­ited, ir­re­spec­tive of risk cat­e­gory of coun­try of ori­gin, and only es­sen­tial cargo will be al­lowed. Cargo from high-risk coun­tries will be sani­tised.

Co­mair, the op­er­a­tor of low-cost car­rier ku­l­, will sus­pend flights from to­day to April 19.

Na­tional car­rier SAA said it would sus­pend do­mes­tic flights. The service will re­sume on April 17.

SAA last week sus­pended its in­ter­na­tional flights un­til May 31.

Mbalula said the ban on cruise ships an­nounced last week would con­tinue for the du­ra­tion of the three-week lock­down, and only es­sen­tial cargo will be al­lowed at SAs ’ eight sea­ports.

Ve­hi­cle test­ing cen­tres and driver’s li­cence test­ing cen­tres would be closed.

“Should your driver’s li­cence ex­pire dur­ing the du­ra­tion of the lock­down it shall be deemed to re­main valid un­til the end of the lock­down, with the grace pe­riod of re­newal within 14 work­ing days there­after un­less oth­er­wise de­ter­mined,” Mbalula said.

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