President Cyril Ramaphosa, while addressing a nation on the edge of their seats on Wednesday, said the 22:00 curfew would be eased under Level 1 lockdown. 

Following a meeting of the National Coronavirus Command Council on Monday 14 September, a meeting of the President’s Coordinating Council on Tuesday 15 September and a special sitting of Cabinet on Wednesday 16 September, Ramaphosa said the country would downgrade to Level 1 lockdown.

CURFEW EASED UNDER LEVEL 1 LOCKDOWN

While Ramaphosa said the nationwide curfew would be eased under Level 1 lockdown, he did say that safety protocols are still to be adhered to. 

Yes, Mzansi, the curfew has been eased but that doesn’t mean it’s party time like it used to be. The reality is that the pandemic is still with us despite decreasing infections, deaths and hospital admissions. Despite a positive trajectory, a flare-up or second wave is not impossible. 

Ramaphosa said the nationwide curfew will now take place in between midnight and 04:00.

A WIN FOR THE HOSPITALITY SECTOR 

What was once a 21:00 curfew, changed to a 22:00 curfew and now there’s a curfew of midnight. While it may pose a threat to decreasing COVID-19 infections, the economy — especially the hospitality sector — has been begging for the curfew to be eased. 

When Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane announced that the curfew had moved from 21:00 to 22:00, she said it would no doubt help the restaurant industry to get back on its feet. 

“Cabinet has agreed to move the curfew to start at 22:00 to allow for uninterrupted dinner service at restaurants. We believe that this change will go a long way towards increasing their revenue generation,” she said. 

The hospitality sector, was at one point, battling an alcohol ban and a 21:00 curfew so being able to sell alcohol now and with eased trading times is most definitely a step in the right direction in terms of revenue and surviving the pandemic.

DA Shadow Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Haniff Hoosen, earlier this week, released a statement asking government to lift the curfew, open international borders and open all sectors of the economy.

“The national curfew must be lifted to allow people to move around freely in support of individual responsibility,” said Hoosen.

“All sectors of the economy resume business, under strict health and hygiene protocols in order to resuscitate our dying economy and to safeguard the livelihoods of all South Africans; this includes the sporting and entertainment sectors, event companies, hotels and tourism,” he added.

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Presh JM Reporter

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