South Africa: Religious Services to Resume Under Level 3, but Limited to 50 People

analysis

President Cyril Ramaphosa says the National Coronavirus Command Council has acceded to proposals put forward to it by religious leaders.

Recognised places of worship can resume public services with a maximum of 50 people in attendance when the country moves to Level 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown on 1 June, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday evening.

Religious gatherings were prohibited during Levels 4 and 5 of the lockdown, except for funerals with a maximum of 50 people, to prevent the rapid spread of Covid-19, but Ramaphosa said the restrictions would be eased as religious leaders could help raise awareness around the pandemic and provide spiritual support to distressed communities.

"Places of worship may reopen subject to strict restrictions, which are absolutely necessary if we are to prevent infections from rising in accordance with norms and standards that will be set out in the regulations," said the president in a televised address.

He said gatherings will be restricted to "50 people or less", suggesting some venues may be limited to fewer people to meet physical distancing guidelines. Worshippers must wear masks, and venues must be sanitised before and after services. Rituals that expose people to risk should be avoided, he...

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