As of Thursday March 26, the lives of many South Africans will be fundamentally changed.

This is after President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide lock-down on Monday night. This step – which the president said was drastic but necessary – will see millions of South Africans restricted to their homes and many services being unavailable.

But some people and businesses will be exempt, including:

  • health workers in the public and private sectors;
  • emergency personnel;
  • those in security services – such as the police, traffic officers, military medical personnel, soldiers – and other persons necessary for our response to the pandemic;
  • those involved in the production, distribution and supply of food and basic goods;
  • essential banking services;
  • the maintenance of power, water and telecommunications services;
  • laboratory services; and
  • those in the provision of medical and hygiene products.

Ramaphosa said a full list of essential personnel would be published soon.

All shops and businesses will be closed, except for:

  • pharmacies;
  • laboratories;
  • banks;
  • essential financial and payment services, including the Johannesburg Stock Exchange;
  • supermarkets;
  • petrol stations; and
  • healthcare providers.

“Any other businesses that are able to continue their operations remotely should do so,”¬†said Ramaphosa.