After nearly 60 days of tough Covid-19 lockdown restrictions, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a drop to Level 3, bringing a significant easing of measures to combat the deadly pandemic.

However, with the easing of restrictions, came a warning from the president: “… the risk of a massive increase in infections is now greater than it has been since the start of the outbreak in our country.”

Ramaphosa’s announcement on Sunday evening confirmed that most South Africans would be heading back to work, to restart the already ailing economy.

South Africa has been in Level 4 and Level 5 lockdown since March 27 to give health facilities time to prepare for the inevitable growth of infections that has gradually begun in recent weeks.

Ramaphosa announced that the daily curfew, which meant everyone had to be indoors between 20:00 and 05:00, would be lifted and that alcohol would be sold at certain times, but it can still only be consumed at home.

“The curfew on the movement of people will be lifted. Alcohol may be sold for home consumption only under strict conditions, on specified days and for limited hours.”

He said announcements on the sale of alcohol would be made “once we have concluded discussions with the sector on the various conditions”.

Tobacco users have, however, received the short end of the stick.

“The sale of tobacco products will remain prohibited in alert Level 3 due to the health risks associated with smoking,” said the president.

What and where under Level 3?

Safety would still be the priority under Level 3, said Ramaphosa, who announced that those who did not have to visit an office should not.

“Our priority is to reduce the opportunities for the transmission of the virus and create a safe environment for everyone. We are therefore asking that those who do not need to go to work or to an educational institution continue to stay at home.”