As of 21 September, 00:00, South Africa will be shifting to alert Level 1 lockdown restrictions. This means that the majority of activities and day-to-day functioning may return to normal however, health guidelines and precautions must still be enforced by establishments and adhered to by the public. With fears of South Africa becoming susceptible to a second wave, South Africa’s National State of Disaster status was subsequently extended to the 14 November 2020. Despite the outside world appearing to mimic life as we once knew, your special day still needs to adhere to COVID and lockdown protocols. Here’s what you need to take note* of when planning your special day:
Curfew hours have been adapted as follows: 00:00 am – 04:00 am. This means that everyone has to remain confined to their place of residence during the above hours on a daily basis. Therefore, you can still host a conventional and memorable wedding day with all the trimmings but be mindful of when curfew starts and how it may affect not only your guests but vendors and service staff on your wedding day.
Tip: Start your wedding celebrations a little earlier so that attendees and personnel have enough time to get home before curfew starts.
Under alert level 1 restrictions, gatherings for social events are limited to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and a maximum of 500 people for outdoor gatherings. However, this does not necessarily mean you escape having to narrow down your original wedding guest list. According to the Disaster Management Act for alert Level 1 lockdown regulations, venues cannot exceed 50% of their stipulated capacity. Guests also need to remain a 1 and ½ metre distance from one another to maintain adequate social distancing. It is important that indoor and outdoor venue operators, are able to produce and display a certificate of occupancy, which clearly stipulates the number of occupants the venue may accommodate. This means that you can host a wedding at a restaurant and places of accommodation such as hotels and lodges as long as venue capacity does not exceed 50% of its stipulated occupancy, ultimately leaving you with added choice in choosing the perfect wedding venue.
Certain health protocols still need to be adhered to when in public places and social gatherings. Individuals need to wear a face mask in a public place at all times. Failure to wear a mask in a public place, building and premise, will result in non-entry. Attendees of social gatherings need to remain 1 and ½ metres from one another and regularly sanitise hands and surfaces throughout the gathering. Some establishments may request that guests be screened and recorded upon arrival.
Travel for leisure, business and other travel will be permitted from October 1st, 2020. This applies to all travellers from the African continent. Only countries outside the African continent with low COVID-19 infection and transmission rates will be permitted into South Africa. Travel from high risk countries remains prohibited (a list of these countries will be released). Upon arrival, travellers will need to present a negative COVID-19 test, not older than 72 hours from the time of departure. All travellers who have not done a COVID-19 test upon arrival will be required to remain in mandatory quarantine at their own expense.
Upon arrival, travellers will be screened and those who display COVID-19 symptoms will be required to stay in quarantine until a repeat test is conducted. All travellers will also be required to download the COVID Alert South Africa app. Guests should also be cognisant that international travel is only permitted at the following South African airports: OR Tambo International Airport; King Shaka International Airport; Cape Town International Airport.
Prior to Level 1 lockdown regulations, restrictions were placed on the serving of food. For example, buffet tables were strongly discouraged. At present, there has been no official communication/mandate regarding the serving of food and beverages under Alert Level 1.
It is important to factor in that liquor may only be sold by licenced premises for off-site consumption between the hours of 09:00 and 17:00, Monday to Friday only (therefore no sale of alcohol on weekends and public holidays). This is important to note should you be serving specially-sourced alcoholic beverages at your wedding. However, on-site consumption of alcohol is permitted strictly at licenced premises and must be implemented in correspondence to lockdown Level 1 curfew hours.
Dance floors are currently allowed as long as strict health protocols are adhered to by all parties.
Tip: Making sure there is enough space for everyone to boogie safely is vital, not only to protect yourself from ‘Becky’s’ questionable windmill dance moves but to also ensure that all attendees as well as yourself, remain in adherence to COVID health protocols.
Feeling a bit overwhelmed by all the protocols that need to be adhered to? SA Weddings works alongside the incredible team at SafelyWed who is able to make your wedding as ‘COVID stress-free’ as possible.
Cara and Bianca have been friends for 6 years and are co-owners of Cape Town based decor hiring company, The Hire Haus. They are a formidable team, who work alongside couples and their respective wedding venues to ensure a fun and memorable day of celebrations, whilst enforcing and adhering to COVID-19 regulations and health protocols. The SafelyWed Team customises a COVID-19 strategy to keep you and your guests safe. They are an on-the-day presence to ensure peace of mind so that the bridal couple and their guests can enjoy the celebrations without worry. Given their vast experience in the wedding industry, their team is well aware of and sensitive to wedding timelines and venue setups.
Tip: SafelyWed suggests implementing a colour-coded wristband system that guests can wear to seamlessly communicate their preferences regarding COVID health protocols. E.g. Green wristband for “I am ok with high fives”; Orange for “I am ok with talking but no touching” and Red for “I am social distancing”. This has been implemented in USA and UK and has worked well.
*It is important to note that failure to adhere to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 lockdown rules and regulations, may result in criminal prosecution and/or the termination of your gathering.
Photography by Kovacevic | Bosch
South African Government. (2020). Coronavirus COVID-19 alert level 1. Retrieved:
https://www.gov.za/covid-19/about/coronavirus-covid-19-alert-level-1 [2020, October 15].