New Year Celebrations Get the Green Light, SA to Welcome January 1 in Style As Curfew Lifted

New Year Celebrations Get the Green Light, SA to Welcome January 1 in Style As Curfew Lifted

  • New Year's Eve celebrations in South Africa will be allowed to go ahead after the government lifted the curfew on Thursday
  • But citizens are urged to continue enforcing health protocols, which include wearing face masks in public
  • With the revised restrictions, liquor-trading establishments such as restaurants will be allowed to operate beyond 11 pm
  • The government will continue to keep a close eye on the situation and make further adjustments where required

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PRETORIA - In a stunning development for South Africans, the government has reviewed its stance on the New Year's Eve curfew, announcing that the current adjusted alert Level 1 Covid-19 restrictions will be put on hold as of Thursday night.

However, in a special meeting, the cabinet warned that the risk of Covid-19 infections remains high in the wake of the Omicron variant. The public is urged to continue observing basic health protocols, including wearing face masks in public, with the failure to do so a criminal offence.

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New Year, Celebrations, Curfew, Health protocols, Government, Cabinet, Restrictions Regulations, Omicron, Covid-19, South Africa, Public, NCCC, National Coronavirus Command Council
South Africans will be allowed to enter the New Year without being governed by tight restrictions. Image: Ihsaan Haffejee/ Anadolu Agency
Source: Getty Images

Taking into account the trajectory of the pandemic, the vaccination numbers across the country, as well as the available capacity within the healthcare system, the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the President's Coordinating Council (PCC) have undertaken to introduce two changes to the Level 1 restrictions with immediate effect.

The first is that there will be no restrictions on the hours of movement of people, which previously saw the curfew in effect from 11 pm to 4 am. Secondly, gatherings are restricted to no more than 1 000 people indoors, TimesLIVE reported.

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Outdoors, citizens will be restricted to a maximum of 2 000 people. According to the government, in cases where the venue is too small to accommodate the aforementioned maximum capacity with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50 per cent of the venue capacity may be used.

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"However, all other restrictions remain in place. The risk of a spike in infections remains a concern due to the Omicron variant's high transmissibility. As such, the government urges people who organise gatherings to implement the necessary health protocols at all times.

'Don't get any funny ideas'

"Also, those attending functions or public gatherings are encouraged to be vaccinated. Alcohol establishments that have licences to operate beyond 11 pm will revert to full licence conditions," the presidency said in a statement.

News24 reported that the NCCC will monitor the situation closely and will make further adjustments as necessary. This is especially true if health facilities suddenly become overwhelmed.

Bheki Cele warns against Gqom, alcohol after 12 am

Elsewhere, Briefly News recently reported that South Africans have a couple of strict lockdown Level 1 restrictions to abide by, particularly on Christmas Day and New Year's Eve, Minister of Police Bheki Cele has warned.

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This means there will be no Gqom music to burn the midnight oil with for festive locals. Drinking booze after midnight is also out of the question, and anyone who dares to defy these orders will have law enforcement to answer to, TimesLIVE reported.

Cele has instructed members of the South African Police Service (SAPS) to adopt a "no-nonsense" approach amid the festive celebrations which, usually, take on a rowdy and disorderly nature.

While speaking amid the government's Safer Festive Season Ministerial Tour in KwaZulu-Natal on Friday last week, Cele stressed that police will not hesitate to enforce the curfew by, among other things, confiscating alcohol at 11 pm.

Source: Briefly News

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