SA partygoers ditch the face mask at Level 1 lockdown [video]
Avuya Walters

South Africa is tentatively open for business under Level 1 lockdown and central to the fears of a ferocious coronavirus (Covid-19) second wave is the current state of social gatherings and events.

One only has to scroll down social media to realise that for the most part, many of us have swiftly moved on from the horrors of the past six months.

The collective cold turkey we endured for more than three months is rearing its head today, with the return of alcohol sales, cigarettes and events.

Watch: SA parties it up without masks

The country moved to Alert Level 1 on Monday 21 September 2020 and this past weekend was the perfect allegory of what’s to come this summer.

Partygoers were out in numbers to reconnect with friends and family at social events and not only was it grossly overcrowded, not a single face was covered in a mask.

DJ Maphorisa took to Twitter to thank his 1 500-some fans for pitching up at Scrapyard Lounge in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal, on Saturday. As you can see, no social distancing was observed and Madumane himself, who was handling the decks, was not wearing a face mask.

Here are some more videos we picked up from events that took place around South Africa this past weekend.

A quick reminder of the rules at Level 1 lockdown

Now, we did not sip the hater-rade. That’s important to note. We are merely highlighting the government’s inability to implement oversight measures to ensure that citizens adhere to the newly instituted guidelines of Alert Level 1.

After all, South Africa is still, in legal terms, under lockdown. So, with respect to social gatherings, these rules are still in place and failure to comply with them could land you a fine or, worse yet, a jail sentence.

When attending a social gathering (including casinos, movie theatres etc.) people are obliged to:

  • wear a face mask;
  • adhere to all health protocols (hand sanitising, etc.); and
  • maintain a distance of least one and a half metres (one stretched arm and a half) from each other.

Furthermore, each gathering space has a set maximum capacity of patrons it can hold at a time. In a perfect world, this limit would be displayed at the entrance of the facility to inform guests.

However, as you saw in the videos above, this measure was either not managed appropriately or implemented at all.

Gatherings at social events, live concerts, cinemas and casinos are expected to only use 50% capacity of the respective venue. With the exception of movie theatres and casinos, venues are also restricted to a maximum of 250 attendees at indoor gatherings, and 500 pax for outdoor events.

These strict measures are in place to ensure that people can enjoy a good time at social gatherings without compromising on the health and safety of others.

What are the latest Covid-19 infection and death stats?

The National Institution for Communicable Diseases (NICD) reported, on Sunday, that South Africa has a total of 50 647 active cases of Covid-19, with a stellar 90% recovery rate (603 721 recorded recoveries) from 670 766 confirmed infections.

While the Covid-19 stats suggest that we are overcoming the worst of the virus, NICD’s professor Adrian Puren warned that we are likely to see a surge in infections at Alert Level 1 and guess where most of the infections are likely to occur…

“As you’ve opened your society, greater movement, larger numbers of people coming into contact with each other, the more likelihood there are going to be super spreader events and infections occurring.

“And also remember asymptomatic spread is one of the major roots for spreading, so it’s critical we keep a good handle of [where] we are with this particular epidemic at this particular phase…” Puren told eNCA.

If we were to ever revert back to heightened restrictions of movement, it would be the result of our own actions. Talk about cutting your nose to spite your face.