Frequently asked questions about the lockdown
To stop the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, the National Government have announced a lockdown across South Africa which will begin at midnight on Thursday 26 March, and will continue for 21 days until midnight on Thursday, 16 April. Please stay at home during this time.
What is a lockdown?
A lockdown is an emergency protocol that requires all South Africans to stay at home unless:
• You are performing an essential service
• You are getting an essential good or receiving an essential service
• You are collecting a social grant
• You are seeking emergency, life-saving or chronic medical attention
Note that you may be subjected to screening for Covid-19 by an enforcement officer while you are not at home.
• Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and other essential services will remain open
• Retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold on condition that the person in control must ensure safe distancing and hygiene conditions
• Only essential goods may be sold in retail stores;
• All South African borders are closed during the period of lockdown, except for the transportation of essential goods and fuel
How long will be lockdown be in place for?
The full national lockdown will begin at midnight on Thursday 26 March, and will continue for 21 days until midnight on Thursday, 16 April.
What is the purpose of a lockdown?
The nation-wide lockdown is necessary to fundamentally stop the spread of the coronavirus (Covid-19) in South Africa, by disrupting the chain of transmission.
It will stop the spread of the Covid-19 and save South African's lives.
What will I be able to do under lockdown?
During the lockdown you will be able to:
- Seek medical care
- Buy essential goods
- Visit the pharmacy
- Access banking and other essential services
- Get petrol
- Collect a social grant
You will also be able to attend a funeral, but there can be no more than 50 people at the funeral, no vigil must be held and all safety and hygiene measures must be followed to top the spread of Covid-19.
What can't I do under the lockdown?
During the lockdown you will NOT be able to:
- Travel between the provinces
- Travel between the City of Cape Town metropolitan area and other areas of the Western Cape
- Leave South Africa
What will happen if I don't obey the lockdown regulations?
Anyone who contravenes the lockdown regulations by not adhering to the restrictions on movement and closures will be guilty of an offence and on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.
What must I do if I am stopped or arrested by enforcement officers when I have left my home during the lockdown?
If you are stopped, supply your reason for leaving home which should be accepted if in line with the permissible reasons to leave home.
Your employer must provide you with a permit, in writing, in the prescribed form, in order to leave your residence to perform an essential service. This permit must be shown to the enforcement officer when you are stopped after leaving home to perform an essential service.
If arrested, you should be afforded all the normal rights. A State of Disaster should by definition be implemented in a manner consistent with the Bill of Rights.
What are the goods that will be available during the lockdown?
The goods that will be available for you to buy during the lockdown include the following:
- Any food product, including non-aloholic beverages
- Animal food
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product
Cleaning and Hygiene Products
- Toilet paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms
- Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol, household cleaning products and personal proactive equipment
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above
- Products for care of babies and toddlers
- Personal toiletries, including haircare, body and face washes, roll-ons, deoderants, toothpaste
- Medical and hospital supplies, equipment and personal protective equipment
- Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above Fuel, including goal and gas Basic goods, including airtime and electricity
What if I have an emergency?
Emergency services including doctors, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies will continue to operate as usual.
Who will be able to work?
All those whose job is an essential service will remain at work. A list of essential services will be published, including pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and healthcare providers. Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open.
Should I stock up now?
Grocery stores and banking services will remain open throughout the lockdown period.
Can I still use public transport during lockdown?
You can't use public transport unless it is for the purpose of performing an essential service, getting essential goods, seeking medical attention or funeral services and collecting social grants.
Only bus services, taxi services, e-hailing services and private motor vehicles may be used to travel for these purposes during the lockdown.
Minibus taxis will be allowed to transport essential services workers and those making permitted movements. They will be allowed to operate from 05h00 until 9h00 and again from 16h00 until 20h00.
If you are providing an essential service and unable to travel to your work, your employer must make the necessary transport arrangements for you to get to work.
When using these modes of transport the vehicle you're travelling in must carry no more passengers than 50% of the licensed capacity (private vehicles must not carry more than 60% of the licensed capacity), and all safety and hygiene measures must be followed to stop the spread of Covid-19.
If you are feeling any flu-like symptoms related to Covid-19, such as a fever or coughing, then it is better to stay at home. This is not only for yourself, but also to avoid infecting other commuters.
Will any public facilities be open?
The following public places and premises will be closed during the lockdown:
- Those where religious, cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, exhibitional, organisational activities take place
- Those where goods other than essential goods are procured, acquired, disposed of or sold
- Public parks, beaches or swimming pools
- Flea markets
- Open air food markets
- Fêtes and bazaars
- Night clubs
- Hotels, lodges and guest houses, except if they are being used for foreign tourists who are confined to hotels, lodges and guest houses
- Private and public game reserves and holiday resorts except if they are being used for foreign tourists who are confined to hotels, lodges and guest houses
- On-consumption premises, including taverns, shebeens, shisanyama where liquor is sold
- Off-consumption premises, including bottle stores, where liquor is sold
- Off-consumption areas in supermarkets where liquor is sold
- Theatres and cinemas
- Shopping malls and centres excluding grocery stores and pharmecies
- Taxi ranks, bus depots, trains stations and airports
Will the schools re-open after the lockdown?
The national Minister of Basic Education, Angie Motshekga, has said that we do not currently know when schools will re-open.
The date will depend on what happens during the lockdown and if we manage to stop the spread of Covid-19.
We would like to see schools re-open after the lockdown as planned, and that is why it is important for everyone to stay at home, but at this point we cannot give a definite date.
How will the education department make up for the lost teaching time during the lockdown?
This will depend on how many teaching days are lost during the lockdown.
Currently learners would have been on holiday in any case, but depending on how long the closure lasts, we may need to implement home learning.
The national and provincial education departments are working hard to make online education resources, some of which are zero-rated, as well as TV and radio lesson broadcasts, available just in case the closure lasts for longer. We will communicate details of these to the public in due course.
In the meantime, the single greatest investment you can make in your child’s education during the lockdown is to read to them or with them every day. Literacy is the fundamental requirement for learning all other subjects, and it is a national and provincial priority.
Will the school nutrition programme continue during the lockdown?
No, the school nutrition programme will not continue at schools during the lockdown.
However, the national and provincial departments of education will work with the Department of Social Development to assist with plans to support communities nutritionally where we are able to do so.
Can I leave my home to walk my dog, or do any exercises, such as jogging or cycling?
No you can't leave your home to walk your dog or do exercises, such as jogging or cycling.
Will the Post Office be open during the lockdown?
Postal services and courier services will only be available for the transport of medical products.
Can I buy alcohol during the lockdown?
No alcohol may be sold anywhere during the lockdown.
I am a foreign tourist - what must I do during the lockdown?
All foreign tourists who arrived in South Africa before, or after, the lockdown, and who remain in South Africa, must stay in their place of temporary residence in South Africa for the duration of the lockdown or 14 days, as the case may be.
On arrival in South Africa you may be subject to screening for Covid-19 and be quarantined or isolated.
What happens after the 3-week lockdown?
At this stage, we don't know. National government will continue to monitor the situation and the rate of Covid-19 infections to determine the best course of action to stop the spread of Covid-19.
More information will be communicated as the situation develops.