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Level 3 extended. What travel agents need to know

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Beaches and public swimming pools remain closed, the ban on alcohol remains in place and land borders are closed until 15 February 2021.  

President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday announced the extension of South Africa’s adjusted level 3 lockdown restrictions and most regulations (barring an easing of the previous 6am curfew) will remain in place.   

Here is what travel agents need to know about the extended Level 3 regulations:  

Beach closures 

As per the previous announcement, dated 28 December, all beaches, dams, lakes, rivers, public parks and public swimming pools in hotspot areas will be closed to the public. The government has now clarified the definition of ‘beach’ and ‘estuary’.  

‘Beach’ means the sandy, pebbly or rocky shore that is between the high -water mark and low -water mark adjacent to the sea or adjacent to an estuary mouth extending 1000 meters inland from the mouth. People are not allowed to come within 100 metres of the high -water mark, excluding private property. This includes the sea and the estuary themselves.  

Beaches that are open to the public in non-hotspots, such as in the Northern Cape are only open between 06h00 and 19h00.  

The closure of beaches and restrictions on times of operation do not apply to fishermen for fishing purposes, who are in possession of a permit.  

Closure of land borders 

All land borders will be closed until 15 February 2021. This means that travel over the borders by land is prohibited and such travel is confined to air travel. 

There are a number of exceptions, however, including the return to South Africa of a:  

  • South African national, 
  • permanent resident to the Republic,  
  • person with a long-term residence visa, 
  • spouse with a visa, 
  • child or children with visas, 
  • person with a work visa; and 
  • holder of a business visa. 

For a full list of exemptions, please refer to the regulations.  

Tourist visa extensions 

A foreign tourist who arrived in the Republic prior to the commencement of this regulation will have his or her visa automatically extended to 31 March 2021. 

Curfew 

The nationwide curfew has been slightly relaxed and will now be from 9pm to 5am (instead of the previous 6am). Apart from permitted workers and for medical and security emergencies, nobody is allowed outside their place of residence during curfew. 

Non-essential establishments – including shops, restaurants, bars and all cultural venues – will still need to close at 8pm. 

Alcohol 

Alcohol restrictions will remain. This includes:  

  • The sale of alcohol from retail outlets and the on-site consumption of alcohol will not be permitted. 
  • The prohibition on consuming alcohol in public spaces like parks and beaches remains. 
  • Distribution and transportation will be prohibited with certain exceptions. 
  • Night clubs and businesses engaged in the sale and transportation of liquor will not be allowed to operate.   

Restaurants 

Restaurants are allowed to operate. However, they will need to close at 8pm and the sale of liquor is prohibited. Gatherings at restaurants is restricted to a maximum of 50 persons or less for indoor venues and 100 persons or less for outdoor venues. If the venue is too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other, then not more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used.  

Hotels 

Hotels, lodges, bed and breakfasts, timeshare facilities, resorts and guest houses are allowed full capacity of the available rooms for accommodation. Patrons will need to observe a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other when in common spaces.  

Conferencing facilities, dining and entertainment facilities are subject to a limitation of a maximum of 50 persons or less for indoor venues and 100 persons or less for outdoor venues. If the venue is too small to hold 50 persons observing a distance of at least one and a half metres from each other, then not more than 50 per cent of the capacity of the venue may be used.  

Swimming pools, public parks, night clubs and bars remain closed. 

Night clubs, swimming pools, bars, taverns and shebeens, and public parks (including recreational facilities where there are no access control measures and entry limitations already in place) will remain closed to the public. 

Game parks that are open to the public will be open between 06H00 and 18H00; and will be monitored for compliance with all health protocols wearing of face-masks and social distancing measures. 

Wearing of masks remains  

The adjusted Level 3 regulations made every individual legally responsible for wearing a mask in public, and this remains the case. A person who does not wear a cloth mask covering over the nose and mouth in a public place will be committing an offence and could be arrested and prosecuted. On conviction, they will be liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both a fine and imprisonment. 

With a few exceptions, businesses may continue to operate as long as all relevant health protocols and social distancing measures are adhered to. 
 
ASATA will continue to monitor for more information and inform as this arises. 

The impact of COVID-19 on the travel industry is unprecedented and unpredictable. The nature of the content that is being shared on the ASATA coronavirus microsite is therefore constantly changing. Please check the date of the post to ascertain its recency.
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