Updated: Monday, 1 June 2020, 08h44.
From Monday, 1 June 2020, South Africa moves into Level 3 of the COVID-19 National Lockdown in which the online trading of all products are allowed, excluding tobacco and tobacco products.
Since Thursday, 14 May 2020, all eCommerce businesses were allowed to continue trading as usual, provided that merchants (and customers) comply with new requirements to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. These regulations must still be complied with in Alert Level 3. As per the Disaster Management Act published on 14 May 2020, merchants and customer must follow specific protocols; these are laid out below.
What products may be transacted through eCommerce platforms?
ALL goods may now be transacted through eCommerce platforms, except for goods prohibited for sale in terms of regulation 27 of the Disaster Management Act Regulations. Regulation 27 refers to tobacco, tobacco products, e-cigarettes and related products. Liquor may now be sold within Alert Level 3 regulations, but under strict ordinances.
Requirements from the couriers:
The Courier Guy:
TCG has confirmed that merchants will now be able to ship parcels using just the shipping label – the CIPC certificate and declaration forms are no longer required.
Merchants will be able to ship parcels using just the shipping label as usual.
Courier It has also confirmed that merchants will not need to attach the CIPC certificate and declaration forms.
Protocols for eCommerce merchants:
All retailers using eCommerce platforms to sell goods must ensure the following (as per Section 5 in the Disaster Management Act):
- All Regulations and Directions in respect of hygienic workplace conditions and the potential exposure of employees to COVID-19 must be adhered to, including the COVID-19 Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Workplaces directions issued by the Minister of Employment of Labour and published in Government Notice 479 on 29 April 2019, which for ease of reference has been set out in Annexure A.
- In addition, employees may not share face masks, equipment, stationery, utensils or similar items, and Designated and adequately trained health and safety officers must take each employee’s temperatures using appropriate equipment or instruments at the start of a shift and every four hours after the shift commences. Records of the temperatures of each employee must be kept. Any employee whose temperature is 37,5 degrees or above should immediately be moved to an isolated observation room for a second measurement. If the second test measurement also exceeds 37,5 degrees, the employee must be returned home for self-quarantine, provided with a surgical mask and not be permitted to enter or stay on the premises.
- In order to limit the social and economic hardship caused by the pandemic on local industries and enable consumer choice to support local producers, retailers must give prominence to those goods which are manufactured in the Republic of South Africa.
- Retailers must provide for as many payment options as possible for consumers, that are based on reducing risks of transmission, and enabling poorer consumers to access delivery services.
- When packaging goods, 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 social distancing is maintained by courier or 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.
Protocols for customers:
All eCommerce customers must ensure the following (as per Section 7 of the Disaster Management Act):
- 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.
How to sanitise or disinfect your packages:
We strongly recommend following the below steps to disinfect and sanitise your products before they leave the warehouse or upon delivery:
- Avoid direct contact with the person collecting or delivery the packages.
- Leave your packages in an isolated area for at least 72 hours to allow the virus to become inactive.
- Alternatively, spray or wipe down the packages with a disinfectant before handling.
- Dispose of all outer packaging immediately.
- Wash your hands thoroughly for 20 seconds or more after handling the package.
- Disinfect any surfaces you had contact with after handling.
- Avoid touching your face, including your mouth, eyes and nose.
The department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs published “Directions regarding eCommerce sales during Alert Level 4 of the COVID-19 National State of Disaster” on 14 May 2020. Please see a copy of the revised regulations attached.