Minister of Small Business Development Khumbudzo Ntshavheni said the South African government will at the “latest” take a decision around “advanced lockdown Level 3” on Wednesday.

Speaking to news television channel eNCA, Ntshavheni said the president already announced that sit-down restaurants and other personal care services will be allowed to reopen – with the necessary protocols in place.

President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation at 20:00 on Wednesday.

Restaurant Association of South Africa CEO Wendy Alberts told News24 that the association is working with the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs on the protocols for restaurants under “advanced lockdown Level 3”.

Alberts said they’ll receive the new regulations by 11:00 on Thursday.

Cabinet last week said it had received a report on the new regulations, but decided to revert it to the health Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) for a full assessment.

Here’s what you need to know about “advanced lockdown Level 3”:

What will reopen? 

Announcing the move to lockdown Level 3 in May, President Cyril Ramaphosa said discussions were under way with the tourism, hotel and restaurant industry about how the sectors can reopen.

Ntshavheni said these discussions had led to an “advanced lockdown Level 3”, but the protocols around the safety at tattoo parlours proved difficult.

In an interview with Power FM, Ntshavheni said the businesses set to reopen include sit-down restaurants, informal restaurants serving taxi ranks and office parks, street food vendors, hairdressers, tattoo studios, nail parlours, body massage services and make-up technicians.

Alberts said they are calling on sit-down restaurants to be opened at 70% capacity, with liquor sales permitted.

Will you be allowed to visit your friends and family? 

Ntshavheni said “advanced lockdown Level 3” is not a move to Level 2, which is why other lockdown regulations, such as the prohibition on visiting friends and family, and travelling interprovincially, will remain in place.

Why are these businesses allowed to reopen? 

Speaking to Power FM, Ntshavheni said the decision to allow the businesses to reopen have been necessitated by inadequate relief funds to further support businesses.

“The impact on the economy was severe and we went to Cabinet after the survey was done and said we don’t have enough relief measures to support small businesses,” the minister said.

Ntshavheni said it makes more sense to support businesses while they are open, instead of throwing money away with businesses that are closed due to the lockdown.

The department’s relief measures will, therefore, help businesses adapt to the “new normal” of Covid-19, she said.

What caused the delay in implementing “advanced lockdown Level 3”? 

On 10 June, Cabinet said it received an updated report from the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), which tabled a number of recommendations pertaining to the enhanced risk-adjusted alert Level 3 of the national lockdown.

Cabinet said the recommendations were based on submissions made by various sectors and deliberations by the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure.

“However, Cabinet decided to defer approval of the recommendations pending a full health assessment report from the Ministerial Health Advisory Committee on Covid-19,” Cabinet said in a statement.

news24 | James de Villiers |