South Africa still needs health rules for salons, diners to open

South Africa’s government announced new regulations allowing the reopening of eat-in restaurants, cinemas and beauty salons, but failed to provide the health protocols they need to restart their businesses.

The amended rules, signed by Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, permit the reopening of hotels, lodges, libraries, tattoo parlours and some sporting activities under strict conditions. These include limiting numbers to 50% of available floor space at casinos, no more than 50 people at cinemas, and less than 15 crew and performers at theatres.

The health ministry will publish the required safety and social-distancing measures that must be adhered to, after consultations with the cabinet, according to the regulations published on the ministry’s website on Thursday. The ban on home-sharing services, bars and nightclubs remain in force.

The Restaurant Association of South Africa notified its members that the new rules are vague and that the industry body’s attorneys would request the immediate release of directives that would allow diners to start operating, Business Insider reported, citing the association.

South Africa is relaxing lockdown rules for a third time since March when the government imposed a national shutdown that brought the economy to a near standstill. President Cyril Ramaphosa has warned of a looming jobs bloodbath as companies in the aviation, construction, entertainment and hospitality industries struggle to emerge from the impact of the lockdown. Africa’s most advanced economy is forecast to shrink 7.2% this year, the most in almost nine decades, Finance Minister Tito Mboweni said.

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