Relief for the Tourism and Hospitality Industries as SA lifts National State of Disaster

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Tuesday, 5th April 2022

After 750 days, South Africa’s National State of Disaster came to an end at midnight on Tuesday, April 5, 2022.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this news recently adding that certain transitional measures would remain in place for 30 days before automatically lapsing to ensure essential public health precautions. He said that the end of the National State of Disaster was a statement of the country's determination to return to our lives with a few adjustments and provide businesses with the certainty to operate. "We are hopeful that the worst is behind us... and it is time to get our country back on track," Ramaphosa said.

The National State of Disaster was declared in March 2020 and affected the tourism and hospitality industries through restrictions such as travel, trading hours, alcohol sales, and gatherings.

The transitional measures include the following:

Face masks are required in indoor public spaces. This is necessary to prevent transmission in high-risk places, especially while many people remain unvaccinated; A mask is not required when outdoors;

The existing restrictions on gatherings will continue as a transitional measure: Both indoor and outdoor venues can take up to 50 percent of their capacity without any maximum limit, provided that proof of vaccination or a COVID test not older than 72 hours is required for entrance to the venue. Where there is no provision for proof of vaccination or a COVID test, then the current upper limit of 1,000 people indoors and 2,000 people outdoors will remain;

The existing provisions with respect to international travel remain in place: Travellers entering South Africa will need to show proof of vaccination or a negative PCR test not older than 72 hours;

If a traveller does not submit a vaccine certificate or proof of a negative COVID-19 test, they will be required to do an antigen test on arrival, and if they test positive for COVID-19, they will need to isolate for 10 days.

All other disaster regulations will fall away at midnight on Tuesday, April 5, 2022. These include regulations on isolation of persons, on schools and access to old age homes, on public transport, on initiation practices, on cargo transportation, and on criminalisation of non-adherence to these rules.

The end of the National State of Disaster also means that the Coronavirus Alert Levels will no longer apply.

The few transitional measures that remain are said to be limited in scope, and allow almost all social and economic activity to resume as normal.

Learn more here.

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