On Wednesday 22 June, Health Minister Joe Phaahla officially announced via the Government Gazette that South Africans are no longer required to wear face masks in public, making it one of the final COVID-19 restrictions that have been scrapped.
South Africans took to Twitter to react to the news, but many had mixed feelings about ditching their masks. Some made it clear that they will be keeping their masks while others were slightly concerned about their health…
ALSO READ: You can ditch your masks! South Africa REPEALS final COVID restrictions
MINISTER OF HEALTH SCRAPS MASKS
The South African government made it mandatory for all citizens to wear masks in April 2020 when President Cyril Ramaphosa and the National Command Council made the decision to move South Africa to lockdown level four.
Almost two years later, Minister of Health Joe Phaahla has officially scrapped this rule, declaring South Africa mask-free!
In his statement via the Government Gazette, Phaahla “repealed” the mask-wearing regulation, which means South Africans can toss their masks in the bin.
WHY DID JOE PHAAHLA MAKE THIS DECISION?
On Monday 20 June, Minister Joe Phaahla said that the government had been “monitoring” the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The figures point towards lower infection rates and that the country has exited a recent spike of infections,” said Phaahla.
“Based on this, we now propose that regulations on mask-wearing indoors, gathering limitations and venue entry limitations no longer need to be in place at this present moment.”
WHAT TWEEPS HAVE TO SAY
#Masks shot to the top of Twitter’s trending list following the announcement made by Minister Phaahla. Some tweeps were happy to do away with their masks but others plan to keep them for a while…
“I’m still going to wear [mine] in shops, I don’t want to get sick,” wrote one tweep.
“Can we gather around to take [them] and throw them in the air like graduates? Yooh phela this feels like graduation day!” wrote another tweep.
“Now that masks are a thing of the past. Uyabona if any security stops me, I am going to pull a Karen and I would like to speak to the manager immediately.”