The Daily Insider: Why is SA still requiring mask wearing in public places?

Where California goes, America follows. And where America goes, the world soon does the same. And from what is happening in California, it’s safe to conclude the Covid-19 crisis is over.

Yesterday the Governor of California Gavin Newsom announced that Covid-19 cases in the state have fallen 65% from the Omicron high. As a result, when its month-by-month indoor mask-wearing mandate expires it not be renewed.

Newsom’s Democrat counterparts in a number of other US states are also moving to end the rules on mask wearing. Republican states have generally been more aggressive in returning society to normality.

The obvious question is why SA, which is weeks ahead on the Omicron curve, still has regulations requiring mask wearing in public places? From what I’ve seen in practice, most of my fellow citizens are now ignoring that requirement. Maybe they know better than the officials.

To receive the Daily Insider every weekday at 6am in your inbox click here. You can also sign up to the weekend’s BizNews Digest for a wrap of the best content BizNews has to offer, for a leisurely Saturday read.

Comment from BizNews community member Angus Murray:

Dear Alec,

I continue to enjoy BizNews and all your daily thoughts and advice! Keep them coming.

I wanted to write to you about the subject of masks again! As an adult I can tolerate the discomfort of having to wear them out and about from time to time.  However I feel so utterly helpless, frustrated and very concerned about the continued mask mandating in schools. We are two years into this and there doesn’t appear to be any change in stance or reassessment of this requirement. The UK has never mandated primary school children to wear masks and when they have mandated it, it has only been for high school children and for short term periods during periods of high infections. Despite this, when these mandates have come in they have been met with a fierce backlash from the population and sections of the media alike.

However, here in South Africa there is complete silence. There seems to be no voice for the children who are bearing the brunt of this scientifically inconclusive NPI measure. 2 years of mask wearing all day at school and there is no end in sight. This is for children of 6 years and older. Children who need to have visual facial expressions and need to see mouth movements for speech development.  What developmental issues is this going to be causing? I can only see it as being cruel and inhumane. We know the virus poses minimal risk to children, particularly young children, and now with all teachers and adults having had the chance to be vaccinated why are the children still being forced to wear them.

I speak from the heart. I have a 5 year old who is now going to speech therapy and occupational therapy and yet he is still being subjected to this mask mandate every day at school. He thrives on laughter and smiles of which he is being deprived.  In what world is this normal and fair? And yet I feel like a lone voice, with everyone else in SA being accepting and compliant to this requirement and seeing nothing cruel in it. I’m sure I’m wrong, I’m sure there are many parents who want this to end but don’t have a platform or voice to take the matter further.

I don’t really know what to ask, but only that perhaps you can raise this as a topic on BizNews. Are there any prominent figures in the education space that can be interviewed to understand more about this. I guess all I ask is that this subject receives much more attention in the mainstream and that it is discussed more. Perhaps it can help lead to the creation of a platform for people to raise their grievances with the policy to the Department of Education. We need to understand when this will end for our children, it is not sustainable, fair or kind that they continue to carry a large burden for a virus that gratefully barely affects them.

Hoping this email garners some interest from you and I really hope you can raise it as a topic on the BizNews platform.

Yours hopefully.

Visited 1,950 times, 1 visit(s) today