International Travel etc
President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday announced the further easing of some alert level 1 restrictions.
Ramaphosa was addressing the nation to provide an update on the government’s risk adjusted strategy to contain the spread of Covid19.
While the easing of restrictions on international travel were a welcome relief for the tourism sector, the announcement that some relief measures implemented at the start of the lockdown will be phased out is sure to be a blow to millions of poor citizens.
Here are 5 key takeaways from President Ramaphosa’s speech:
1. State of disaster extended and curfew remains in place
The state of disaster has been extended to December 15. This means that most of the current restrictions, especially those on public gatherings, will remain in place for another month.
The level 1 curfew remains in place and the public is not allowed to leave home between midnight and 4 am, except to seek urgent medical attention or perform an essential service as defined by the regulations.
2. R350 Special Covid-19 Grant extended
While many of the relief measures implemented at the start of the lockdown are slowly being scaled back, the government will continue to pay the R350 grant for a further three months, until January 2021.
“This will provide much needed income to around 6 million people who are unemployed and do not receive any other form of government grant,” President Ramaphosa said.
3. UIF Ters benefit extended to October 15
Many employees whose salaries have been cut because of the economic downturn will breathe a sigh of relief at the news that there is one more Ters payment coming.
4. Restrictions on international travel eased
Government is opening up international travel to all countries, provided that the necessary protocols are followed and that travellers are in possession of a negative Covid-19 certificate.
“By using rapid tests and strict monitoring we intend to limit the spread of the infection through importation,” Ramaphosa said.
5. Hours for retail sales of alcohol normalised
“We are amending the alert level 1 regulations to restore the normal trading hours for the sale of alcohol at retail outlets.”
More details on the implementation of the new measures announced by Ramaphosa on Wednesday will be announced by the relevant Cabinet ministers in the coming days.