Mainly as a result of the spread of the Delta variant of the virus – which is now present in five provinces – Cabinet has decided to move the entire country to adjusted lockdown alert level 4. Restrictions which may affect members include:
- To work during curfew hours (21:00 – 04:00) and to travel outside Gauteng, these two permits must be used: Work in Curfew / Travel into or outside Gauteng. Inter-provincial travel with Gauteng is generally prohibited (except for essential work or funerals).
- Gatherings: all indoor and outdoor gatherings are banned with the exception of funerals which may not exceed 50 people and may not include vigils or after-service gatherings.
- Workplaces: remain open but wherever possible people are to work from home.
- Face masks are mandatory in all settings, and no more than 50% of the floor space can be occupied – with a notice to that effect being required to be placed at the premises. One should carefully consider floor space in offices/warehouses/factories as non-compliance is a criminal offence (regs 15B and 21).
- Special arrangements must still be made in relation to vulnerable employees (reg 15B(9(e)).
The above measures are to remain in place until 11 July when they will be reviewed based on epidemiological updates.
Vaccine registration for 50 and above
The National Department of Health has indicated that a number of private-sector sites are now permitted to vaccinate uninsured persons which will ramp up the vaccine rollout. The opening of registrations for persons 50 years old and above on the vaccine portal will commence 1 July with their vaccinations commencing from 15 July. Registration is necessary for people to be vaccinated as it helps the DOH allocate resources, manage the stock of vaccines and remind people of their second jab.
Intervals between COVID-19 infection and the vaccine
Studies conducted on the COVID-19 vaccines indicate these vaccines can safely be given to individuals who have previously been infected with COVID-19. However, if an individual has had a COVID-19 infection, it is recommended to wait 30 days between infection and receiving the COVID-19 vaccination. This interval applies both to the first and second doses of the vaccine.
Vaccination Policies for the Workplace
The Department of Employment and Labour recently amended the Direction on Occupational Health and Safety measures to cover obligations of employers in relation to the mandatory vaccination of employees.
Under the Directions an employer is required, by 2 July, to undertake a risk assessment to determine whether it will implement mandatory vaccination of employees based on its operational requirements. Those who intend to compel employees to be vaccinated will need to inform the Department of Labour and adhere to the requirements in the Direction. Where possible, those refusing should be reasonably accommodated.