In a letter sent to President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday, Freedom of Religion South Africa (FOR SA) asks for religious gatherings in South Africa to be allowed to open up to 50% of the capacity of their venues — without any numerical cap — subject to adherence to health and social distancing protocols.
In the letter Advocate Nadene Badenhorst legal consultant for FOR SA notes that in response to pleas from church leaders the president increased church capacity from 100 to 250 people (inside) and 250 to 500 (outside) prior to Easter weekend services with the understanding that the situation would be reviewed soon after Easter — a time which some forecasters predicted would be marked by a “third wave” of infections triggered by the holidays.
In support of the request for a relaxation of the regulations, Badenhorst notes: “…there has been no uptick in infections. In fact, it is evident that the health impact of COVID-19 has drastically decreased, with a reported seven day average of 48 related deaths and 861 new infections (i.e. 0.001% of the population).”
She adds that FOR SA’s request is “subject however to a differentiated approach to different areas, following the science and allowing Government to impose more severe restrictions in areas identified as ‘hotspots'”.
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