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COVID-19 level 1
Social Distancing In Airport. Passengers wearing protective masks standing in turn to terminal entrance due to COVID-19 regulations, side view

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SA COVID-19 Level 1: Keep Your Masks On… But You Can Travel Now

Last night, South African president, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced that we will be entering level 1 in our phased COVID-19 lockdown. So what does that mean for us? What can we do and what restrictions are still in place?


Social, religious and other gatherings are now permitted with up to 250 people at indoor and 500 people at outdoor gatherings, as long as it doesn’t exceed 50% of the venue’s normal capacity. While funerals were previously only allowed to accommodate 50 people, that number is now 100.

Masks & hygiene

You will still be required to wear a mask that covers the nose and mouth in public. It is still a criminal offence not to wear a mask. Social distancing protocols and hygiene practices must also be observed.


The curfew remains in place, but we will now be able to stay out until midnight and will be required to stay home until 4am.

Gyms & Theatres

Gyms, recreational venues and theatres are allowed to reopen. However, they can only operate at up to 50% capacity, which will be determined by the floor space available.


International travel will resume from 1 October, with the exception of travel to and from countries with high rates of infection. People will, however, only be allowed to cross the land borders that are currently open and can only travel by plane from King Shaka, OR Tambo and Cape Town International airports.

Alcohol & shopping

The sale of alcohol will now be permitted between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Fridays, while on-site consumption is permitted at licensed venues. Other retail stores will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity as determined by the floor space available.

Level 1 COVID-19 lockdown restriction will commence at midnight on Sunday 20 September.

For more updates about the COVID-19 level 1 lockdown restrictions and other developments, visit the Essential Millennial’s News & Politics section.

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