City welcomes belated move to repeal Covid-19 restrictions - GHL

Cape Town mayor says continuing restrictions not rationally related to saving lives

City welcomes national government’s belated move to repeal remaining Covid-19 restrictions

21 June 2022

I was encouraged to read national Health Minister Dr Joe Phaahla’s letter to the nine provinces’ Health MECs yesterday, expressing the view that the remaining Covid-19 regulations should be repealed, including:

- The compulsory wearing of face masks;

- Limitations on attendance at gatherings; and

- Limitations on entry to the Republic for travellers.

I call on all the MECs, the national Cabinet and the President to support Minister Phaahla’s recommendations and implement them with no further delay. This is also the case I will make at tomorrow’s President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) meeting.
The country has clearly exited the fifth wave of infections. In addition to this, the rates of death and hospitalisation in the January and May waves were considerably lower than the previous ones, even though the majority of restrictions had already been dropped.

Continuing to restrict South Africans’ freedom to decide for themselves whether to wear masks and restrict their attendance at large gatherings is not rationally related to saving lives, and thus unjustified.

The remaining restrictions also disproportionately and unfairly affect certain groups in society, including young school children and ordinary, wage-earning workers.

While patrons of restaurants are free to unmask to enjoy a meal in comfort, for example, waiting and kitchen staff are forced to be masked for up to twelve hours at a time. Children as young as seven years old are being forcibly subjected to the discomfort of all day masking, often while school management are comfortably maskless in schools’ administrative offices.

It is time to move on from irrational Covid-19 restrictions, and from state control over private aspects of our lives in the interests of containing a disease whose threat to human life has considerably diminished.

Issued by Media Office, City of Cape Town, 21 June 2022