In a notice sent to the restaurant industry on Tuesday afternoon, Tourism Minister Mmamoloko Kuyabi-Ngubane confirmed that President Cyril Ramaphosa’s lockdown order would extend to the entire restaurant industry in South Africa for at least 21 days.
From midnight on Thursday, all restaurants, cafes, bars and coffee shops would not be permitted to operate as they had not been deemed essential services.
Food delivery services would also be suspended during the lockdown, which is to be enforced by both the police and the military.
— Dept of Tourism (@Tourism_gov_za) March 24, 2020
Many South Africans have bemoaned the fact that they will not even be able to order takeaways any more.
Food delivery also not allowed.
— Dawn (@dasojashine) March 24, 2020
Disappointing that CR did not say this out loud but that we had to read between the lines and find out this way. JSE and banks are essential services, but food apparently is not, according to these politicians (who will surely be well-fed during the lockdown period).
— Frans Flippo (@fransflippo) March 24, 2020
“From midnight on Thursday until 16 April, all South Africans will have to stay at home,” Ramaphosa announced on Monday night.
He said the nationwide lockdown would be in place for three weeks from Thursday; it was intended to save lives, even though it would come at a heavy cost to the economy.
“Our fundamental task is to curb the rapid spread of the disease. We must do everything to delay the spread of the infection.
Only certain people would be allowed to go out in particular circumstances, including for medical care and to do essential shopping.
“The categories of people who will be exempted from this lockdown are the following: health workers in the public and private sectors, emergency personnel, those in security services such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic.
“It will also include those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods, essential banking services, the maintenance of power, water, and telecommunications services, laboratory services, and the provision of medical and hygiene products. A full list of essential personnel will be published.
“Individuals will not be allowed to leave their homes except under strict circumstances. Firms that can continue operations remotely must do so.”
The focus would be on high-density and high-risk areas.
He said government and the business sector would announce and implement measures to offset and allay the economic difficulties that the lockdown would cause.
People from high-risk countries would be confined to their hotel until they had completed a 14-day quarantine.
Ramaphosa applauded the Rupert and Oppenheimer families for pledging R1 billion each to support the country.
The president said it was essential that panic buying was still unnecessary and stockpiling was not needed, as there would be a steady supply of goods to stores. He reassured the public that banks and ATMs would remain open.
Businesses would be supported by getting various tax breaks, particularly for Paye as You Earn, over the next six months, while a temporary reduction of payments to the Unemployment Insurance Fund was being looked at.
People engaging in profit gouging on prices would face arrest and be prosecuted for corruption.