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SA govt allows the sale of (almost) all goods online

According to new regulations published by the Department of Trade, Industry, and Competition on Thursday afternoon, online retailers in South Africa may sell any product, with the exception of cigarettes and alcoholic beverages.

SA govt allows the sale of (almost) all goods online

From the start of Level 4 lockdown until yesterday, online retailers were limited to selling the same restrictive list if items that physical stores were permitted to sell. The gazetted directions that subject to all applicable laws, "all goods may be transacted through e-commerce platforms", except for booze and tobacco products which remain prohibited under Level 4.

The new regulations are effective immediately and remain in force for the duration of Level 4. Retailers, couriers and consumers will need to comply with a new strict list of rules focused on preventing the spread of Covid-19.

As stated in the gazette, the DTIC belives that "e-commerce can be a critical enabler to opening the economy through contactless transactions, which can reduce the movement of consumers, and the density of shoppers in retail spaces. Further, it can accelerate innovation, support local manufacturing and increase access by the informal market and poorer South Africans."

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The directions urge the promotion of South African-made products and "increased access for consumers through the provision of multiple payment channels, including for low-income consumers."

The minimum protocols that retailers, courier and delivery services, and customers must maintain include the following.

Protocols for online retailers


• Adherence to the Covid-19 occupational health and safety measures to maintain hygienic workplace conditions.

• Employees may not share face masks, equipment, stationery, utensils or similar items.

• Records of the temperatures of each employee must be kept. Temperatures must be taken daily and be managed by trained health and safety officers.

• Retailers must give prominence to those goods which are manufactured in South Africa.

• Retailers must provide for as many payment options as possible, which are based on reducing risks of transmission, and enabling poorer consumers to access delivery services.

• Retailers must provide written guidelines for customers on how to safely disinfect their goods before use.

• Retailers must put in place collection protocols to ensure that adequate physical distancing is maintained by delivery service personnel when collecting goods from a warehouse or depot.

• All goods must be sanitised, in line with the guidelines published by the National Department of Health, before leaving the warehouse or depot.

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Protocols for courier or delivery services


• Adherence to the Covid-19 occupational health and safety measures to maintain hygienic workplace conditions.

• Employees may not share face masks, equipment, stationery, utensils or similar items.

• Records of the temperatures of each employee must be kept. Temperatures must be taken daily and be managed by trained health and safety officers.

• All courier and delivery personnel must have their own hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes, which must be refilled daily.

• Courier and delivery personnel must wear a cloth face mask that covers the nose and mouth when delivering goods to customers.

• Courier and delivery personnel must maintain at least one and a half metres distance from other courier or delivery personnel when collecting goods for delivery and customers when delivering goods.

• Courier and delivery service personnel may not enter the home of a customer if such customer and any other residents within the immediate vicinity are not wearing cloth face mask or a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth.

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Protocols for customers


• Customers and all residents within the immediate vicinity must wear a cloth face mask or a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth when receiving goods from courier and delivery personnel.

• Customers must maintain at least one and a half metres distance from courier and delivery personnel.

• Customers are encouraged to disinfect goods using guidelines published by the National Department of Health and those provided by retailers.
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