President Cyril Ramaphosa has put a number of rules in place that apply to all South Africans for good reasons. The rules are aimed at stopping the spread of the Coronavirus, or Covid-19, and reducing the number of deaths in this country.
One of the most important, and difficult rules to keep, requires us to remain a social distance, or two-metres, apart from each other. To get an idea of how far this distance is, take a broom with your outstretched arm and hold it to its full length. If you can keep that far away from other people, you will cut your chances of being infected.
Maintaining the social distance is not only to prevent you from getting the virus, but also if you have Covid-19 but don’t know it, it will reduce the chances of you spreading it.
It is not easy to keep so far from other people because we are used to standing close to each other in queues, when we pass each other on the streets and when we sit next to each other in churches, cars or taxis.
We should do everything possible to avoid these situations. The President said this because it could save our lives. The police and the army are out on the streets to help us. They are patrolling the streets to remind people to stay in their homes and to maintain the social distance.
This means that under the current level 4 lockdown you should go out jogging or walking your dog only between 6am and 9am*. Don’t go to taverns, restaurants or traditional ceremonies.
Crowds of fifty or more people are prohibited. Avoid them – the police and the army have to break up such large gatherings if they occur. It does not help to get angry with people in uniform, they are doing their jobs in your best interest.
It’s a good idea to listen to police officers and other officials – they are doing it for us.
The new rules tell us to avoid crowds by staying at home as much as possible. Restaurants and all places of entertainment are closed. Sporting events, church services and funerals normally draw large groups of people.
All major sporting tournaments have been postponed and you can pray from home, but funerals are more difficult. If a loved one has passed, it is a tragic moment and funerals can’t be delayed. Have the funeral but make sure that only close family and friends attend – fifty people is the limit, and if you can make it smaller, so much the better.
Even at funerals, when we naturally wish to hug those in mourning, we should avoid our in natural instincts. Don’t embrace others – keep to the social distancing advice and stay two metres apart – for your sake and for the sake of your family.
Some of the large grocery shopping shops in Makhanda have taken steps to try and minimise the chances of contact. They only allow a maximum number of people in their shops at a time. When you stand in the queue – keep your distance from the person in front of you and the person behind you. Respect the rules of the shops – they are trying to protect you and their employees. Help them help you.
Remember, keeping your social distance is not rude – it is a sign of respect that could save a life.
* Updated to include lockdown level 4 exercise rules.