As of May 1st, 2020, the lockdown regulations are eased to level four. The COVID-19 lockdown level grading comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the gradual easing out of lockdown strategy that the country would undertake.

Level four lockdown means slightly easing out of the extreme lockdown restriction that South Africa was in during the initial lockdown period. This means that specific industries and businesses can, with extreme caution, resume operations. It also means that as individuals, a bit more mobility is allowed, following the regulations. We will be dissecting what lockdown level four means for individuals as well as people who form part of the businesses and services that are set to resume during level four.

Businesses/Industries that are going back to work:

  • Agriculture
  • Vintners – winemakers
  • Mining (open-cast)
  • Financial institutions (Johannesburg Stock Exchange will remain open)
  • Professional services
  • Postal and telecommunications
  • Forestry, pulp and paper
  • Global export market services
  • Formal waste recycling
  • Taxis (subject to strict passenger-loads and hygiene protocols)

These are the industries that are allowed to return to work during lockdown level four. The president did stress that working from home is encouraged wherever possible to maintain social distancing. 

Risk Assessment:

A thorough risk assessment to be conducted in the workplace before staff returns to work. Employers need to adhere strictly to safety measures to prevent COVID-19 transmissions and to ensure the health and safety of employees. 

What you need to know before you return to work:

  •  Your employer needs to have a concise plan, as informed by the risk assessment conducted (in accordance with the national COVID-19 policy) and share the program with employees.
  • You need to know what the COVID-19 symptoms are and to stay home when you present with any of these symptoms
  • A COVID-19 compliance officer from your workplace needs to be appointed who will ensure that the safety regulations and health standards are adhered to.
  • Your employer needs to give you a permit that states that you are permitted to work during the lockdown.
  • Social distancing needs to be maintained; hence not all staff members will return to work at the same time as employers need to minimize the number of staff members on the premises.
  • Ensure a minimum of 1.5 metres between colleagues 
  • Sufficient hand sanitizers and personal protective equipment need to be supplied by employer free of charge.
  • Employers need to keep updated with the latest recommendations from the National Institute for Communicable Diseases and the National Institute for Occupational Health on the steps to take to prevent transmissions in the workplace. 

Level Four Lockdown Rules:

  • Stay home.
  • You are only allowed to leave your home if you are permitted to work during the lockdown, obtaining essential goods or services or transporting children to co-parent.
  • You’re allowed to walk, run or cycle between 06H00 to 09H00, within a five-kilometre radius of your place of residence.
  • Movement between provinces or metropolitan areas and districts prohibited.
  • Sale of liquor and tobacco prohibited.
  • Gatherings prohibited.
  • Food delivery services may operate.
  • Wear a mask in public spaces.

For more details on level four regulations, click here:

https://www.gov.za/documents/disaster-management-act-regulations-29-apr-2020-000

https://www.sanews.gov.za/south-africa/employers-urged-prepare-workplace-returning-employees

Level four lockdown: health and safety for employers and their workforce

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