President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced tonight at 20h00, that sit-in restaurants and the grooming and personal care sector will resume for business soon, as the country moves to reopen more economic sectors.
Ramaphosa said the cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on restaurants for sit-down meals, accommodation facilities, conference facilities, cinemas and theaters, casinos, personal care services (including hairdressers and beauty services), non-contact sports, contact sports (but only for training).
Ramaphosa said these activities will be permitted but with stringent rules, which will be announced in due course. The dates for reopening will be communicated soon.
He said, as the country gradually opens up, the risk of infection “inevitably increases”. He added, however, the risk of infection is not inevitable, saying that one’s behaviour can determine whether they contract the virus. He reminded the public to wear a mask.
Ramaphosa’s address followed a number of meetings of the Cabinet, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the Presidential Coordinating Council.
Speaking about the spread of Covid-19 in the country, Ramaphosa says the number of infections was doubling every two days before the lockdown. Once Level 5 began, the number of cases doubled every 15 days. Now, it doubles about every 12 days.
The President said nearly a third of all confirmed cases have been recorded in the past week alone, owing to more activity because of Level 3 lockdown.
The President, meanwhile, announced that there have been 1 674 Covid-19 deaths and 80 412 confirmed cases.
‘War waged against women’
Ramaphosa also took the opportunity to talk tough on gender-based violence, which has hit headlines in the past week after the gruesome deaths of several women.
He said “with the heaviest heart” that women in the country are facing violence from men. He said he is “appalled” at a “war” being waged against women and children in the country, and that violence is being “unleashed on the women and children… with a brutality that defies any form of comprehension.”
He said 21 women and children have been killed in the past few weeks. He recites the names of women, whose deaths have hit headlines over the past week, who were killed by men.
“These women are just not statistics”, he said, adding that our “hearts, thoughts and prayers are with them”. He commended the police for arresting almost all of the alleged perpetrators.
He said the country now has a national plan to combat gender-based violence. He reminded the country of the GBV hotline available during the lockdown.
He assured the women and children of SA that the justice system will focus on issues of GBV, and ensured more arrests in these incidents to follow. He says the court sentences must reflect the seriousness of GBV.
He said the country is facing a coronavirus epidemic and a gender-based violence epidemic. He called on the public to act responsibly and take care of one another.
“The road ahead will be long and difficult, but the task of recovery will also be long and considerable,” he said.