If Health Minister Joe Phaahla has his way, then face masks will be part of our daily lives for a very long time to come.
With the government extending the National State of Disaster for another month until 15 April, it has faced backlash for trying to make it work in their favour.
Now, Phaahla has proposed new regulations regarding the wearing of masks in public. According to his proposal, masks will be considered mandatory in public buildings and public transport for as long as Covid-19 is seen as a notifiable disease.
While walking on the street, it wouldn’t be mandatory to wear a mask though.
News24 reports that under those rules, face masks would remain mandatory in three broad areas:
- When “in a gathering in an indoor public place”.
- “Use any form of public transport”.
- To “enter a public premises”.
As with previous regulations related to the pandemic, companies will be required to provide face masks to employees.
Parliament won’t be required to sign off on the rules as they fall within the powers given to the Minister of Health by parliament. The powers give the Minister the right to deal with serious diseases.
The draft regulations have been given to the National Joint Operational and Intelligence Structure (Natjoints) for approval. Natjoints is a high-powered body originally used for coordination between the SA Police Service and the defence force.
The draft rules are open to public comment until the middle of April. If approved, it will come to force after that, although this might take some time.
Image credit: Ciovita