On 17 June, over 80 days after the implementation of the COVID-19 national lockdown, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that personal care services, including hairdressers and beauty services, are among those industries ‘due to reopen soon’.
This will be on a date still to be confirmed and subject to stringent conditions yet to be announced.
When President Ramaphosa announced in May that the country would be moving to Alert Level 3 from 1 June, he said government would give consideration to reopening other sectors of the economy, if the necessary safety precautions were put in place and maintained.
In a live television broadcast on 17 June, the President stated: “Following discussions with industry representatives on stringent prevention protocols, and after advice from scientists and consultation with Premiers, Cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on certain other economic activities.”
Personal care services, including salons and personal beauty services, he said, are among the industries due to reopen soon, along with sit-down restaurants, accredited accommodation, casinos, cinemas, conferences and meetings for business purposes, theatres and non-contact sports.
However, Rhamaphosa stressed that these businesses need to adhere to strict safety requirements, which need to be put in place before they can reopen. Detailed measures and the date from which these activities will be permitted will be announced in due course.
Said the President: “There are businesses that haven’t earned an income or revenue, and individuals who haven’t earned a salary for over 80 days, even with the measures we put in place to support companies, workers and poor households as part of the R500 billion relief package that we announced.
“We have taken the decision to reopen various sectors of the economy with due care and seriousness, appreciating the risks associated with each activity and the measures needed to manage those risks.”
While some of these industries may have suffered a huge blow, the President said these businesses employed over 500,000 people before the lockdown. Therefore, he said, Cabinet thought very hard about the people and those who depend on them for their livelihoods.
Meanwhile, he said, government continues to balance the superseding objective of saving lives, while preserving livelihoods.
The President announced that the COVID-19 death toll now stands at 1, 674 people, while there are 80,412 confirmed coronavirus cases in South Africa since the outbreak. Of these, 44, 331 people – or around 55% – have recovered.
“That means there are currently 34,407 active cases in the country. Yet, as we know, the cost in human lives could have been far higher,” President Ramaphosa said.
He said he was heartened by news of a breakthrough in the treatment of COVID-19, led by the University of Oxford in Britain.
The study found that the drug, dexamethasone, which is also manufactured here in South Africa, reduced deaths among patients on ventilation by a third.
“The Department of Health and the Ministerial Advisory Committee has recommended that dexamethasone can be considered for use on patients on ventilators and oxygen supply,” President Ramaphosa said. (Source: SAnews.gov.za)