Yesterday our President spoke to us again, and announced that we are all moving down to Level 3 on June 1 (Monday). I have mixed feelings about this (the economy needs to get moving, but lots and lots of people are about to die). As it is, the hospitals are already becoming overwhelmed, and neither Level 3 nor winter has arrived yet.
Dire times. I’m staying put. In fact, I am going to go into even stricter lockdown than I have had until now (I don’t want to isolate myself fully from outside germs though, as I intuitively think that inhibits my immune system recovery, but I also ….don’t want to catch the virus? It’s a weird balance that’s required.)
Level 3, effectively, is the end of economic lockdown. Everything except for restaurants, gyms, beauty salons/hairdressers can be open. Domestic labour can return to work if private transport can be guaranteed by the employer at no extra cost to the employee. The final regulations have not yet been published, but I’ve seen the draft ones and that’s pretty much what it boils down to. Socially, we are still to stay isolated – no going over to someones house, although I honestly cannot see that being enforced if visits are discreet and responsible. We can exercise outside at any time, and the curfew is abolished. Most domestic travel is prohibited, as is international travel.
But that is not people are talking about today. Nope. It’s the fact that alcohol sales are back on the table, but cigarette sales are not. It is a regulation that is so obviously backed by corruption that it makes us sick to our stomach. We are all sacrificing a lot, and then one woman, Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma (NDZ), can give us all the middle finger and do whatever the fck she wants. She must be the most hated woman in SAfrica today, regardless if you’re a smoker or not.
Even before the ban, South Africa had one of the biggest illicit-cigarette markets, which costs the government about 7 billion rand ($394 million) a year in lost tax revenue, according to a report published and funded by the Tobacco Institute. About 90% of people who wanted to buy cigarettes during the lockdown were able to do so, albeit at inflated prices, an online survey of 16,000 people conducted by researchers from the University of Cape Town found.
Anyway, we are in our last week of Level 4. Even some school kids are going back in a week’s time (not mine!). I’m not sure I’m quite ready for the country to get back to normal, but I will write about that separately. I also don’t think that we will not be here again: I anticipate our cases are going to rise steeply, people are going to act like bafoons and endanger each other, and we are going to have our freedom curtailed again. it seems counterintuitive to decrease Lockdown levels as cases are rising, but the country just cannot afford to have the 8 million people who are heading back to work on Monday to stay home any longer.
We will see what June brings 🙁