The South African Council of Churches (SACC) says it is not happy with the current regulations in place for church gatherings under Alert Level 1 of the coronavirus lockdown, especially the limit on the number of attendees allowed.

President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday that religious gatherings will be allowed subject to adherence to health protocols and limited to only a hundred people indoors and 250 at outside venues.

Adjusted Level one lockdown rules:

SACC General Secretary Bishop Malusi Mpumlwana says a task team will make an appeal to the government to reconsider the regulations regarding church gatherings.

“The member churches on the SACC have actually only last week before the President spoke, made two decisions, one they should appeal for an increase of the numbers to be based on the size of the venue, so that if you’ve got a 500 seater you can have 250 people in the house. If you have got a thousand seater you can have 500 people in the house. Secondly, the WHO says there must be a positivity rate of less than 5% for a running two weeks, we think we should do that as much as possible.”

Alert level one 

During his speech, Ramaphosa also noted that Alert Level 1 will see increased economic activity as most restrictions have been lifted.  He announced that the sale of alcohol is now permitted as normal, except during the curfew which is between midnight and 4am.

The move to level one is informed by the decline in new infections, admissions to hospitals, and deaths.

“This dramatic decline in cases over eight weeks is due to a combination of the public health measures introduced, changes in behaviour and accumulating immunity in those who became infected in our communities,” he said.

This coming Friday South Africa will be marking a year since the first case was confirmed. More than 1.5 million contracted the virus and almost 50 000 people have succumbed to it.

Ramaphosa urged South Africans to continue adhering to the regulations. “As we ease restrictions, we cannot let our guard down.   The few remaining restrictions under Alert Level 1 are meant to maintain low levels of infections and in particular, to prevent super-spreading events.”

President Cyril Ramaphosa moves SA back to Alert Level 1: