On 1 May 2020 South Africa will go into Level 4. But what does this mean? What things have changed, and what has stayed the same? The government has announced what we will or won’t be allowed to do during Level 4, but some important things still need to be decided, like when learners can go back to school. Some things that have changed have brought much relief, like being able to get some fresh air and exercise, but we still have to be patient and stick to the safety regulations.

Remember, that levels can be changed at any time and we might go back into Level 5 if the coronavirus spreads too quickly and the health system is overwhelmed and nurses and doctors can’t care for the number of patients that are sick.

Here is a diagram showing you what you can or cannot do during Level 4.

In this new phase here are a few very important things you need to know:

1. Everyone needs to wear a cloth MASK everywhere outside your homes. You can wear a scarf or a T-shirt wrapped around your mouth and nose if you don’t have one yet. (Here is an article showing how to make your own cloth mask.)

2. There is a strict CURFEW. No-one is allowed out of their houses from 8pm to 5am.

3. You have a SINGLE chance to move back to your residence or workplace if you have been somewhere else during Level 5 of the lockdown. You’ll then need to stay in this new place until the end of Level 4 of the lockdown.

4. PUBLIC TRANSPORT is available but you can’t have more than 3 people in a car at a time. Taxi’s (who must continue to carry only 75% of their usual passengers) and other forms of taxis such as Uber must be sanitised every day. Remember if you are travelling, you must wear your mask and take hygiene precautions (i.e. wash your hands).

5. FAST FOODS and RESTAURANTS are allowed to deliver food from 9am to 7pm daily but you aren’t allowed to either sit in the restaurant or fetch the food yourself. If you order food, you will need a delivery service to send it to you.

6. In addition to all the essential services you were able to access under Level 5, you will now also be able to BUY:
– Children’s clothing
– Winter clothing for adults
– Bedding
– Heaters
– ICT equipment such as computers, cell phones, and other home office equipment
– Stationery and educational books
– Personal toiletries including haircare products
– Fuel (coal, wood, paraffin and gas)
– Airtime and electricity
– Hardware components and supplies (for emergency repairs)
– Components for vehicles (emergency repairs)
– Textiles

7. EXERCISE is allowed between 6am and 9am within a 5km radius of your house. You can’t exercise in a group and gyms remain closed. (Here is a useful link to find your location’s 5km radius.)

8. You CANNOT:
– Buy alcohol
– Buy cigarettes
– Visit friends or family
– You may not move house (unless it is the once-off opportunity mentioned already)
– Attend church or public gatherings (except funeral but limited to 50 people)

9. If you are employed in one of the following business you may need to go to work (this will be confirmed by your employer, and employers must follow the necessary health and safety precautions for COVID-19):
– Retail
– Construction
– Agriculture, hunting, forestry and fishing
– Electricity, gas and water supply
– Postal and courier services and all telecommunication services
– Media and entertainment as long as it is online as well as newspapers
– Banks and financial services
– Private security services
– Payroll systems
– Call centre services
– Mining
– Emergency repair services which includes plumbers and electricians
– Production, manufacturing, supply or transport for permitted services
– Cleaning, sanitation, pest control, sewerage and waste removal
– Recycling (only 50% of the staff are allowed to work)
– Social services
– Wildlife management
– Funeral and cremation services
– Trade union staff for those delivering an essential service
– Live-in domestic workers
– Staff employed to care for the sick, elderly, mentally ill and people with disabilities

Some of these services can return with all of their staff whereas others, such as winter clothing, bedding and heater services can only start with a quarter of their staff and then work their way up to half their staff.

Once the spread of coronavirus is seen as decreasing then South Africa (or possibly your district or province) will move to Level 3.