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S/African schools open as restrictions ease

South African students will on Monday go to school shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic as the country eased…

South African students will on Monday go to school shut down due to the coronavirus pandemic as the country eased its lockdown Level 4 to Level 3 nationwide, President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced.Ramaphosa said on Sunday that under the Level 3 lockdown, schools may reopen as long as they adhere to strict health protocols. 

“Schools will reopen according to strict health protocols. It is compulsory for every person to wear a mask at all times when in public spaces and adhere to social distancing protocols,” he said.  

Schools have been closed since June 28 when South Africa went into a Level 4 Covid-19 lockdown amid a third wave that saw infections soaring. 

Ramaphosa also announced that inter-provincial travel for leisure would resume immediately and that the sale of alcohol would also be permitted for off-site and onsite consumption from Monday as well.

He said the overall decline in new Covid-19 infections meant that it was possible to gradually ease some of the restrictions on gatherings, movement and the sale of alcohol.

“Based on the recommendations of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19, and inputs from the President’s Coordinating Council, Cabinet this afternoon (Sunday) decided that the country should be moved from Adjusted Alert Level 4 and be placed on Adjusted Alert Level 3,” the president said.

He, however, said the hours of curfew will stay the same, starting at 10pm and ending at 4am.

Apart from interprovincial travel, non-essential establishments like restaurants, taverns, bars and fitness centres could also be opened, Ramaphosa said.

He, however, cautioned that these establishments would need to close by 9pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.

Gatherings would be allowed but would be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors, and where the venue was too small to accommodate the numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 percent of the capacity of the venue might be used, the president said.

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