Essential services and businesses allowed to operate under lockdown

In a bid to contain and slow down the spread of the coronavirus in the country, South Africa will go on a nationwide lockdown at the stroke of midnight on Thursday for 21 days, with the exception of essential services.
Food processing is exempt from the Covid-19 lockdown
Ramaphosa said: "All shops and businesses will be closed, except for pharmacies, laboratories, banks, essential financial and payment services, including the JSE, supermarkets, petrol stations and health care providers.

"Companies that are essential to the production and transportation of food, basic goods and medical supplies will remain open.”
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The full list includes:

Essential infrastructure services


  1. Electricity - stable power supply with no loadshedding
  2. Public and private organisations, their staff and service providers essential to the generation, transmission and distribution of electricity will need to continue to operate. This includes municipalities, and the suppliers of logistics, feedstock and maintenance will be required to continue to operate and provide security of electricity supply.
  3. Water supply, sewerage and sanitation
  4. Public and private organisations, their staff and service providers essential to the security of supply of bulk and potable water and sanitation must continue to operate and provide vital water and sanitation services. This includes municipalities and those involved in the supply of materials, chemicals and related equipment.
  5. ICT – datacentres, fibre optic infrastructure, towers and antennae
  6. . The ICT sector including data centres, fibre optic providers, towers and antennae will need to operate at high capacity to ensure connectivity will remain stable during this period.

Critical business continuity services


  1. Food & essential products – related manufacturing and processing, and distribution
  2. The following operations will continue:
    • Manufacturing of health related products, supplies, devices, equipment, and medicines, including complementary health products; food and essential products, as well as essential inputs thereto.
    • Agricultural and food supply related operations, including farming, veterinary and phyto-sanitary provider services, pest control services, and chemical and fertiliser providers.
    • Fishing operations
    • Forestry and sawmills will remain in production for disposable health and hygiene products, including toilet paper; as well as for the production of packaging for essential health and food supply chains.
    • Food, beverages and essential products manufacturing and processing facilities
    • Warehousing, transport and logistics for food & essential products, and health related goods
    • The ports, road and rail networks will remain open in order to facilitate the import and export of essential products.
    • Food outlets – retail, wholesale, spaza shops and malls for food and essential products (toilet paper, cleaners, sanitisers and disinfectants, personal hygiene products, bedding and clothing, and essential supplies for those taking care of the sick and in order for people to remain healthy.
  3. Enabling services
  4. To assist in the Covid-19 response, the following services are required to continue operations:
    • All healthcare related services be they public or private.
    • Call centres providing life and health; energy, food and water supply, social, transactional, communications, law and order and international critical business continuity services.
    • Professional and artisan services, to the extent that they are providing support in the Covid19 response, essential and critical business continuity services.
    • Cleaning, laundry and hospitality services supporting the Covid-19 response and essential and critical business continuity services.
    • Hotels, airlines, stadiums, car rental services, to the extent that they are supporting or repurposed for essential or critical business continuity services.
    • Financial and insurance services and health funders required to finance and support essential and critical business continuity services in the Covid-19 response, and provide short term bridging finance to people and businesses during this period.
    • Anti-poaching and wildlife conservation services.
    • Communication and media services on screen, TV, radio, print, broadcast and online.
    • Safety and security services protecting people and property.
  5. Work from home
  6. The government encourages people to continue to remain productive and work from home. However, this must the basis that it does not require contact with people not residing in the home, and it does not interfere in any manner with the Covid-19 response.


Other than the above, businesses will need to shut down during the lockdown.

  • Permit required for essential services during lockdown
  • Download final list of essential services as per government notice published on 25 March 2020
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