How does the Presidents recent address effect Weddings in South Africa? | Covid-19 Update | 28 December 2020

The Coronavirus and governmental decisions thus far have impacted weddings in South Africa. After President Cyril Ramaphosa’s most recent national address on 28 December 2020, we look at the updated regulations.

The wedding journey during Covid-19 

Covid-19 has impacted weddings in South Africa.  It’s been a gruelling 277 DAYS of lockdown in South Africa, beginning in March 2020. On 16 September 2020 we breathed a sigh of relief as the then statistics indicated more than 89% recovery rate. The recovery rate further improved thereafter into the 90s. So much so, that the lockdown regulations had somewhat eased during lockdown level 1.

However, now South Africa reverses from lockdown level 1 to the stricter guidelines within lockdown level 3, as of midnight 28 December 2020.

The Journey of Lockdown on Weddings in South Africa

During level 5 and level 4 of lockdown, weddings were not permitted and home affairs were not processing marriage certificates. During level 3 a wedding ceremony, in the presence of the couple marrying, plus a marriage officer and two witnesses were permitted. It was only during level 3 that home affairs begun processing marriage certificates. During level 2 lockdown weddings in South Africa were permitted at wedding venues, given that there was less than 50 people at the wedding event.

The most lenient alert level 1 permitted wedding venues to operate under a 50% capacity.  This was according and depending upon the venue’s floor space. Given this, an indoor wedding venue was capped at a maximum of 250 people and an outdoor wedding venue was capped at a maximum of 500 people during level 1 lockdown. Protocols of social distancing, wearing of masks, sanitising and hand washing were adhered to.

Many couples were blessed to quickly have had their wedding ceremony and reception during level 1. 

The update post the President’s National Address on 28 December 2020

President Ramaphosa spoke of the new Covid-19 variant called 501.V2.  It is known to be more contagious and is fueled by super spreader events such as end of year events and concerts.  South Africa is currently experiencing a sharp rise in infections.  To contain infections and save lives in South Africa, these measures are now in place under Alert Level 3:

The President informed of the updated guidelines, rules and regulations as follows

(*reference is only made to the potential points impacting weddings)

1. All indoor and outdoor gatherings are prohibited from midnight 28 December 2020 until 15 January 2021 (exception of funerals with their own restrictions)

There is no specific reference between weddings and lockdown within the gazette this time. However the gazette does specifically refer to indoor/outdoor gatherings being prohibited until 15 January 2021. We assume weddings are a gathering.

Moreover, it’s noted that museums, conferencing, cinemas, casinos, galleries, libraries, gyms, restaurants – are limited to 50 persons or less for indoor venues and 100 persons or less for outdoor venues. If these mentioned venues are too small to hold the prescribed number of persons observing a distance of at least 1.5 metres from each other – then not more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.

Perhaps a wedding in a museum, conference facility, cinema, gallery, gym, library, restaurant would be permitted up to a maximum size of 50 people – but who wants to marry in a gym?

The declaration of the national state of disaster continues. We know that at least until 15 January 2021, indoor or outdoor gatherings are not permitted. At the next presidential address, which will be before 15 January 2021, we will know more.

So what if my wedding is between 28 December 2020 and 15th January 2021?

If your wedding date is between 28 December – 15 January 2021, discuss postponing your wedding date with your wedding venue, until at least after 15 January 2021. Certainly look at blocking two wedding dates with your wedding venue, so there’s a plan A as hopeful and plan B as backup.  Keep your guests updated. Renew your save-the-date-invitations as required.

If your wedding guest list is compiled of a couple of hundred people, then potentially look at blocking your plan A wedding date after February 2021.

Be hopeful that the lockdown will ease and your Dream Wedding will happen. It’s only a matter of time.

2.  Curfew is extended to 9pm-6am (excluding healthcare and security services)

Nobody is allowed outside of their place of residence outside of this curfew.

3. Wearing a cloth mask or similar covering over the nose and mouth is mandatory when in public

Any person who does not wear a mask in public places will be committing an offense.  On conviction, they will be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both a fine and imprisonment.  The manager or owner of a building, place or premises must ensure that all customers wear a mask.   An employer must ensure that all employees wear a mask while they perform their duties.

4. Alcohol sales from retail outlets will not be permitted. Distribution and sale of alcohol is prohibited.

5. On-site consumption of alcohol will not be permitted. 

6. No consumption of alcohol in public spaces, including parks and beaches.

7.  Traveling to and from the Republic is allowed, subject to sub-regulation. 

8.  All international travel is permitted, subject to the traveler providing a valid certificate of a negative Covid-19 test which is obtained not more than 72 hours before the date of travel.  

International travel is restricted to the following airports:  OR Thambo International Airport, King Shaka International Airport, Cape Town International Airport. 

In summary

The most recent Presidential address on 28 December 2020 has reversed South Africa’s alert level lockdown from level 1 to level 3, until 15 January 2021. Although the economy is kept open now, the aim of this adjustment to alert level 3 is to reduce transmission of Covid-19 and ease the pressure on the healthcare system. On 15 January 2021, the government will review the alert level.

It is however certain from the most recent gazette that the distribution and sale of alcohol is not permitted.

Although your international wedding guests can still enter South Africa – they may not have a wedding to attend to before 15 January 2021.  Unless of course you’ll consider your wedding venue in a cinema, library, casino, gym – which we don’t recommend as the ideal wedding venue.

In the interim, have FAITH, keep HOPE and continue your wedding planning. You WILL have your wedding day dreams. Click here to read some awesome Wedding Tips

Remember to browse South Africa’s Most Popular Online Wedding Shop by clicking HERE

This article will be updated in our blog as wedding information progress onwards. Watch this space! Most importantly, check into our  Blog Page for more insight into Hot Wedding Topics.

*Note from the Editor:  By no means is this article a comprehensively seamless analysis or by any means official information. However this article is merely intended to explore grounding information proposed to sober wedding indecision during the national state of disaster. This information is accurate to the date of publishing.  More information will unveil as the government releases further information.