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Patel Outlines Intervention Measures on Coronavirus

March 25, 2020

Department of Trade and Industry

The trade and industry minister, Ebrahim Patel, has confirmed that guidelines on companies that will remain open during the lockdown announced by president Ramaphosa last night, will be published tomorrow.

The minister revealed this during a briefing on government’s intervention measures on the Coronavirus.

The president indicated that companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open during the 21-day lockdown.

“We will be publishing further guidelines tomorrow, ahead of the “lockdown”, which begins on Thursday evening just after midnight, in other words, the lockdown will come into effect the whole of Friday and beyond.”

In the interim, the minister announced that grocery stores, supermarkets, spaza shops and pharmacies will remain open during the lockdown.

Healthcare professionals providing essential services to the public will be open as well.

“All essential items – food and beverages, medical suppliers, personal products, hygiene products, cleaning products – will remain available through the lockdown and the period of the national disaster. This means that all businesses essential for the production and distribution of these essential items will be allowed to remain in operation during the lockdown.”

The minister also indicated that businesses that remain in operation during the lockdown will be required to do so with all the staff required to ensure that the service or production is uninterrupted.

Businesses will also be required to take necessary protocols to ensure adequate hygiene and social distancing.

Essential staff under consideration for inclusion in the gazetted list include those responsible for essential care of the elderly and sick persons, including home-care and old-age homes; essential private security services for the protection of property and persons; all essential back-office services to enable salary and human resource departments to work so as to ensure smooth management of wage and salary payments; those who assist in transporting food and other essentials to people’s homes including online retail; members of parliament, provincial legislatures, municipal councils and their core staff, as well as government departments and public entities’ staff and members of the media and broadcasting services.

The minister also declared that government will take “all steps to keep open trade links with neighbours to ensure that we have food supply across the region and that we come through this together as neighbours”.