With not wearing face masks in all public spaces now punishable by law, South Africans will be eager to know exactly where and when they are required to mask themselves.
Following President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement on Monday, December 28 that South Africa will revert to Level 3 lockdown from December 29 due to the rapid spread of COVID-19, the rules and regulations that form part of it were published in the latest government gazette, adding more clarity to the situation.
Once the public is released from wearing the protective equipment, it is when they engage in rigorous exercises, which will be both a relief for many and perhaps a challenge for the forces of the order that monitor compliance with the law.
Where should we wear face masks?
According to the regulations, “the wearing of a face mask is compulsory for any person in a public place, and any person who does not comply with a verbal instruction from an enforcement officer to wear a face mask, commits an offense and is, on conviction, liable to a fine or imprisonment not exceeding six months ”.
The regulations then specify that the following areas require the compulsory wearing of masks:
- Public spaces
- Public transport
- Any building used to obtain goods and services
In addition, it is now mandatory for employers to ensure that no employee can perform duties or enter employment premises if the employee is not wearing a face mask.
Government must decide what constitutes ‘vigorous exercise’
The regulation also specifies that the law “does not apply to a person who undertakes vigorous exercise in a public place, provided that he remains at a distance of at least one and a half meters from any other person”.
Some people take exercise more seriously and rigorously than others, so it’s likely to be a contentious issue. It is not yet clear whether, for example, one has to reach a certain speed in one’s run to be considered engaging in appropriate levels of athletic vigor.
The government said in a media briefing at a National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) meeting on Tuesday, December 29 that it would announce further details on what constitutes vigorous training, the Minister of Health Zweli Mkhize being responsible for deciding the applicable parameters.
Level 3: masks are now mandatory
SourceLevel 3: masks are now mandatory