January 16, 2021

FAQ about the COVID-19 Lockdown

South African Government Gazette – COVID-19

To stop the spread of coronavirus Covid-19, the National Government have announced a lockdown across South Africa which will begin at midnight on Thursday 26 March, and will continue for 21 days until midnight on Thursday, 16 April. Please stay at home during this time.

What is a lockdown?

A lockdown is an emergency protocol that requires all South Africans to stay at home unless:

    1. You are performing an essential service
    2. You are getting an essential good or receiving an essential service
    3. You are collecting a social grant
    4. You are seeking emergency, life-saving or chronic medical attention

Note that you may be subjected to screening for COVID-19 by an enforcement officer while you are not at home.

In addition:

    1. Grocery stores, pharmacies, banks and other essential services will remain open
    2. Retail shops and shopping malls must be closed, except where essential goods are sold on condition that the person in control must ensure safe distancing and hygiene conditions
    3. Only essential goods may be sold in retail stores;

All South African borders are closed during the period of lockdown, except for the transportation of essential goods and fuel.

How long will the COVID-19 Lockdown lockdown be in place for?

The full national COVID-19 lockdown will begin at midnight on Thursday 26 March, and will continue for 21 days until midnight on  Thursday, 16 April.

What is the purpose of the COVID-19 lockdown?

The nation-wide lockdown is necessary to fundamentally stop the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19) in South Africa, but disrupting the chain of transmission. It will stop the spread of the COVID-19 and save South Africans lives.

What will I be able to do under COVID-19 Lockdown?

During the COVID-19 lockdown you will be able to:

    1. Seek medical care
    2. Buy essential goods
    3. Visit the pharmacy
    4. Access banking and other essential services
    5. Get petrol
    6. Collect a social grant

You will also be able to attend a funeral, but there can be no more than 50 people at the funeral, no vigil must be held and all safety and hygiene measures must be followed to top the spread of COVID-19. Read more on how to obtain permission

The amendments allow certain individuals to move between provinces and, metropolitan and district areas for purposes of transporting a body for burial purposes.

The amendment also limits the individuals who are permitted to travel to funerals. The regulation now outlines a process for persons who wish to travel between provinces, or between metropolitan and district areas to attend a burial or cremation to obtain a permit.

It further determines that only the following persons, who live outside a province or metropolitan and district areas, may attend a funeral:

(i) spouse or partner of the deceased;

(ii) children of the deceased, whether biological, adopted or stepchildren.

(iii) children-in-law of the deceased;

(iv) parents of the deceased whether biological, adopted or stepparents;

(v) siblings, whether biological, adopted or stepbrother or sister of the deceased;

(vi) grandparents of the deceased; and

(vii) persons closely affiliated to the deceased.

The current prohibition of 50 persons attending a funeral is still in operation. The holding of night vigils is still prohibited.

The permit may be obtained from:

    1. A Magistrate who is the head of office or
    2. A station commander of a police station or a person designated by him or her

In order to obtain a permit:

A Magistrate who is the head of office or a station commander of a police station or a person designated by him or her must be provided with a death certificate or a certified copy of a death certificate;

It is important to note that:

A permit holder may stay at a hotel, lodge or guest house for the duration of the funeral or cremation. The permit must be presented to the owner or manager of the hotel, lodge or guest house.

Source : SA Government FAQ

What can’t I do under the COVID-19 Lockdown?

During the COVID-19 Lockdown you will NOT be able to:

    1. Travel between the provinces
    2. Travel between the City of Cape Town metropolitan area and other areas of the Western Cape
    3. Leave South Africa

What will happen if I don’t obey the COVID-19 Lockdown regulations?

Anyone who contravenes the COVID-19 lockdown regulations by not adhering to the restrictions on movement and closures will be guilty of an offence and on conviction, liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment.

What must I do if I am stopped or arrested by enforcement officers when I have left my home during the COVID-19 Lockdown?

If you are stopped, supply your reason for leaving home which should be accepted if in line with the permissible reasons to leave home.

Your employer must provide you with a permit, in writing, in the prescribed form, in order to leave your residence to perform an essential service. This permit must be shown to the enforcement officer when you are stopped after leaving home to perform an essential service.

If arrested, you should be afforded all the normal rights. A State of Disaster should by definition be implemented in a manner consistent with the Bill of Rights.

What are the goods that will be available during the COVID-19 Lockdown?

The goods that will be available for you to buy during the COVID-19 lockdown include the following:


    1. Any food product, including non-aloholic beverages
    2. Animal food
    3. Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any food product

Cleaning and Hygiene Products

    1. Toilet paper, sanitary pads, sanitary tampons, condoms
    2. Hand sanitiser, disinfectants, soap, alcohol, household cleaning products and personal proactive equipment
    3. Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above


    1. Medical and hospital supplies, equipment and personal protective equipment
    2. Chemicals, packaging and ancillary products used in the production of any of the above

Fuel, including coal and gas

Basic goods, including airtime and electricity

What if I have an emergency?

Emergency services including doctors, clinics, hospitals and pharmacies will continue to operate as usual.

List of South Africa Hospitals

Who will be able to work during COVID-19 Lockdown?

All those whose job is an essential service will remain at work. A list of essential services will be published, including pharmacies, banks, supermarkets, petrol stations and healthcare providers. Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open.

See list of essential goods and services

Should I stock up now?

Grocery stores and banking services will remain open throughout the lockdown period.

Can I still use public transport during COVID-19 Lockdown?

You can’t use public transport unless it is for the purpose of performing an essential service, getting essential goods, seeking medical attention or funeral services and collecting social grants.

Only bus services, taxi services, e-hailing services and private motor vehicles may be used to travel for these purposes during the COVID-19 lockdown.

If you are providing an essential service and unable to travel to your work, your employer must make the necessary transport arrangements for you to get to work.

When using these modes of transport the vehicle you’re travelling in must carry no more passengers than 50 of its licensed capacity, and all safety and hygiene measures must be followed to stop the spread of COVID-19.

If you are feeling any flu-like symptoms related to COVID-19, such as a fever or coughing, then it is better to stay at home. This is not only for yourself, but also to avoid infecting other commuters.

Will any public facilities be open?

The following public places and premises will be closed during the COVID-19 lockdown:

    1. Those where religious, cultural, sporting, entertainment, recreational, exhibitional, organisational activities take place
    2. Those where goods other than essential goods are procured, acquired, disposed of or sold
    3. Public parks, beaches or swimming pools
    4. Flea markets
    5. Open air food markets
    6. Fêtes and bazaars
    7. Night clubs
    8. Casinos
    9. Hotels, lodges and guest houses, except if they are being used for foreign tourists who are confined to hotels, lodges and guest houses
    10. Private and public game reserves and holiday resorts except if they are being used for foreign tourists who are confined to hotels, lodges and guest houses
    11. On-consumption premises, including taverns, shebeens, shisanyama where liquor is sold
    12. Off-consumption premises, including bottle stores, where liquor is sold
    13. Off-consumption areas in supermarkets where liquor is sold
    14. Theatres and cinemas
    15. Shopping malls and centres excluding grocery stores and pharmecies
    16. Taxi ranks, bus depots, trains stations and airports

Can I leave my home to walk my dog, or do any exercises, such as jogging or cycling during COVID-19?

No you can’t leave your home to walk your dog or do exercises, such as jogging or cycling.

Will the Post Office be open during the COVID-19 Lockdown?

Postal services and courier services will only be available for the transport of medical products.

I am a foreign tourist – what must I do during the COVID-19 Lockdown?

All foreign tourists who arrived in South Africa before, or after, the COVID-19 Lockdown, and who remain in South Africa, must stay in their place of temporary residence in South Africa for the duration of the COVID-19 Lockdown or 14 days, as the case may be.

On arrival in South Africa you may be subject to screening for COVID-19 and be quarantined or isolated.

What happens after the Lockdown?

At this stage, we don’t know. National government will continue to monitor the situation and the rate of COVID-19 infections to determine the best course of action to stop the spread of COVID-19.

More information about the COVID-19 Lockdown will be communicated as the situation develops.

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