You can’t visit family because you will hug each other – minister

Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola can be seen at GCIS during a press briefing , 16 December 2019, Pretoria. Picture: Jacques Nelles

Lamola stressed that visits to old age homes were still limited as the elderly were more vulnerable to the pandemic.

It’s difficult to regulate people behind closed doors, said Minister of Justice and Correctional Services Ronald Lamola in justifying why Cabinet had concluded that family visits would now be prohibited.

There was a loophole at most houses, where the adherence to regulations of no hugging or clear social distancing was difficult to monitor and regulate.

“We’ve identified that the unregulated space in most homes led to some of the issues government noticed, which were house parties that had people not adhering to the regulations.”

He said people were more relaxed and had a high chance of hugging in private spaces.

However, Lamola lamented that “people are defying the rules”. He said they had to make not wearing a mask a criminal offence because people were simply not adhering to this regulation in public.

“It must be embarrassing to move around without a mask. It must be cool to move with a mask,” he said. “You can be prohibited from entering a public space if you are not wearing a mask.”

Lamola added that if it is possible to work from home, we must continue to do so. Permits will be required for those who are not home or at work during the curfew hours.

He confirmed that the rules announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday evening were applicable with immediate effect.

There were questions on social media, as well by the DA’s shadow minister of communications, Phumzile van Damme, on the exact time the regulations would be gazetted. Van Damme has since deleted the tweet stating that if she owned Tops, she would remain open, as there was no law where a president could make announcements on TV and they automatically became law.

Relief for liquor industry

On relief to be given the liquor industry, after Ramaphosa announced that the sale of alcohol would be banned with immediate effect, Cabinet said any relief to be provided to the industry would be communicated at a later stage.

Cigarette ban

Asked if there were statistical information on the ban of cigarettes in relation to Covid-19, Cabinet said Health Minister Zweli Mkhize would field more questions related to the health issues government had faced and the decisions taken thus far. Cogta Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma reiterated the cigarette matter was currently before the courts and comments on it would be held until necessary.

Funerals

Cultures who need to bury at irregular hours after 9pm would be allowed to do so under special circumstances, Minister Dlamini-Zuma confirmed.

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