Merchants breathe a sigh of relief with new level 3 lockdown regulations

Two people jogging under level 3 COVID-19 lockdown restrictions

We’ve made it South Africa! We’ve officially made it out of level 4 lockdown restrictions with more commerce and freedom of movement being allowed. On the evening of 24th May President Ramophosa announced that the whole country will be eased into level 3 on 1st June 2020. This announcement came after over two months of strict lockdown regulations that were put into place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

While the government had good intentions to flatten the curve and prevent our healthcare system from being overburdened, unfortunately it has proven to be disastrous for our economy with only essential goods and services being allowed. The implementation of level 3 is exactly what our economy needs to start bouncing back as more people are allowed to earn a living once more.

What’s allowed under level 3 lockdown

The most important regulation under level 4 lockdown was the allowance of ecommerce for all products (except alcohol and tobacco products). Under level 3 lockdown rules, all brick and mortar wholesale and retail shops are also allowed to open – even alcohol stores, although under restricted operating hours between 9am and 5pm, Monday to Thursday. Other non-retail businesses are also allowed to open, and as long as they abide to strict hygiene measures and social distancing practices they can allow staff to return to the office.

The exercise window period between 6am and 9am has also been done away with, we are now allowed to exercise outside between 6am and 6pm as long as we wear cloth masks and maintain a safe social distance from one another. Restaurants may continue delivering food during the day, but now we are also allowed to pick up the food ourselves. Domestic business travel is also being allowed once again, as well as international travel if you can prove it’s work or study related. 

On 26th May the President announced that places of worship will be allowed to hold religious gatherings with no more than 50 people at a time. And on 28th May it was announced that domestic workers are allowed to return to work on 1st June.

Restrictions under level 3 lockdown 

While alcohol sales for home consumption is now allowed, unfortunately for smokers the sale of tobacco products is still strictly prohibited. Hotels, bars, gyms and conference centres are still forbidden from operating, as well as high-risk businesses such as beauty parlours and hair dressers. Interprovincial travel is also still banned (unless it’s air travel for business as stated above). When leaving your house you are still required to wear a mask by law and to avoid social gatherings. 

For more information about what you can expect from level 3 lockdown, visit the official South African COVID-19 Online Resource and News Portal

Preparing for our COVID-19 new normal

The economic global impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating, with many industries having no other option but to innovate to stay afloat. COVID-19 innovation has largely come down to digitisation; with ecommerce being crowned the winner. 

The popularity of ecommerce was already overtaking traditional brick and mortar shops and shopping malls before COVID-19. So even before the current health crisis moving online, or at least having an omnichannel strategy, should have been a priority for your business. The convenience of online shopping means that by offering your products or services online you’ll be able to reach more consumers and improve your revenue. 

With easy to use platforms like Shopify and WooCommerce you can quickly set up an online store without any web design skills. With a user friendly website, high quality photos of your products and a secure online payments system like PayFast you’ll be able to ensure a constant revenue stream irrespective of how long social distancing measures are in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

For more specific information on how to move your business online, read our three part series on starting an online business: 

Part 1: Doing research

Part 2: Building your store

Part 3: Digital marketing 

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