Restaurant, entertainment industries in limbo as wait for Covid-19 rules endures

ERNEST MABUZA

Minister of co-operative governance & traditional affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gazetted an amendment to the lockdown regulations to allow cinemas, restaurants, theatres and casinos to operate.

Co-operative governance and traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma. The restaurant and entertainment industries eagerly await direction on the strict health and safety guidelines concerning their reopening.
Image: GCIS

While some rules are specified, the businesses’ reopening is subject to strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures – as well as “directions” that must be issued by the relevant cabinet minister in their sectors, after consultation with health minister Zweli Mkhize.

It is unclear when these directions will be announced.

The regulations published by Dlamini-Zuma’s department late on Thursday night said cinemas may be open, subject to a limit of 50 people or less. The same applies to theatres.

In terms of casinos, regulations state that there must be a restriction on the number of people allowed to occupy no more than 50% of the available floor space, with patrons observing a distance of least one-and-a-half metres from each other. This floor space percentage “may be increased as provided for in directions issued by the cabinet member”, the document states.

Restaurants are also allowed to open subject to the strict adherence to all health protocols and social distancing measures – “as provided for in directions that must be issued by the responsible Cabinet member, after consultation with the Cabinet member responsible for health”.

On-site consumption of alcohol remains prohibited.

Regulations also allow for the opening of museums, galleries, libraries and archives.

Personal care services, including hairdressing, beauty treatments, make-up and nail salons and piercing and tattoo parlours, were included in the document. This industry has reopened after small business development minister Khumbudzo Ntshavheni gazetted directions for the industry on Friday last week, allowing them to operate under “advanced level 3″ of the lockdown.

Dlamini-Zuma’s department said the regulations were gazetted by the minister after consultation with other Cabinet members. Amendments were issued in line with President Cyril Ramaphosa’s ’s message that the government is implementing the Risk Adjusted Strategy model to balance the overriding objective of saving lives and protecting livelihoods.

“The minister urges South Africans to continue to exercise caution and protect themselves and others from avoidable exposure to Covid-19 infection,” the department said.

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