South African President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced plans to lower the nationwide alert to Level 3 starting June 1 and to allow additional activities to resume in phases.

Key Points:

  • Starting June 1, businesses in manufacturing, mining, construction, financial services, professional and business services, IT and communications, government and media services will resume. However, they must develop workplace plans before reopening, including social distancing measures, screening of employees upon arrival at work, quarantine protocols and testing for symptomatic employees and contact tracing in case an employee tests positive. Employees who are able to work from home should be allowed to, and employees over age 60 or those with underlying medical conditions should stay at home.
  • Permitted business activities and some domestic travel for business will be phased in according to a schedule to be announced.
  • People who do not need to go to work or school should continue to stay home, but people will be able to leave their homes to buy goods, obtain medical care or exercise, and the curfew on movement will be lifted. Gatherings remain prohibited, except for funerals of fewer than 50 people.
  • Certain high-risk activities remain prohibited, including conferences. Restaurants, pubs, lodges and hotels will remain closed.
  • South African citizens may return to their residence abroad only for work, study, family reunion, medical reasons, or to take up permanent residency. They must seek permission from the Department of Home Affairs via email by providing a copy of their valid South African passport, a letter confirming admissibility from the relevant embassy or consulate of the host country and any transiting countries, and proof of tickets and intended travel date.
  • Hotspots within South Africa may return to Level 4 or 5. A hotspot is defined as an area with more than five infected people per 100,000 or where new infections are rapidly increasing. The list of hotspots will be reviewed every two weeks.

Additional information: The additional easing of the nationwide lockdown will allow more business activities to resume, but employers will need to have workplace plans and protocols in place before reopening. Ramaphosa emphasized that the number of infections continues to increase and the alert level may return to Level 4 or 5 in any part of the country if COVID-19 spreads or overwhelms the health care system.

Analysis & Comments: Employers should anticipate an increase in employee mobility and arrange travel schedules for affected travelers accordingly. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available. Please check Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map, available here, for information on travel restrictions and immigration changes in other countries.

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