Despite Police Minister Bheki Cele raiding a Sandton club over the weekend, it’s business as usual for most night clubs and restaurants in Johannesburg. Social distancing is not being observed and establishments are packed to capacity with partygoers having fun without their masks on.

The Health Department says this is a call for concern.

One partygoer says as much as she loves socialising, she’s afraid this could make matters worse.

“People just don’t wear masks. They just put it at the door and once they are inside they remove them. I’m so scared because coronavirus is not gone.”

However, another patron has a different view.

“It’s not easy to expect people to wear masks all the time. It’s impossible because we were not designed to wear masks. Also, when we go to restaurants to eat we have to remove them. And same applies to when we go drinking. How do we drink with our masks on? I just think the government was to quick to open these places.”

Social establishments not complying with lockdown regulations warned:

In July, Justice and Correctional Services Minister Ronald Lamola announced that not wearing a mask in a public space in South Africa is a criminal offence. But one restaurant owner says it’s almost impossible.

“It’s not an easy thing to do. I mean when people come here they are here to dine. And at some stage they have to remove their masks in order to do so. However, I do my best to ensure that everyone here maintains a proper social distancing.”

A few days ago there was speculation that the country could go back to Level 5 – an allegation President Cyril Ramaphosa refuted.

The Department of Health says the issue of people drinking without masks is worrying.

Acting Head of Department Doctor Anban Pillay says, “We have seen that people are not wearing masks in numbers and that is very concerning. Some do wear them but not the correct way and it is also a problem. I think it would be best for those who go to restaurants to only remove them while eating and also to keep a distance of at least 1.5 to 2 meters. Also those who go to drink to always put them on and remove them while drinking.”

NICD’s Professor Lucille Bloomberg also agrees.

“People should avoid crowding and wash their hands. I think this is very important to avoid transmission. I know they want to socialize but masking is critically important.”