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All online shopping now allowed

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  • As of Thursday afternoon, online shops in South Africa may sell anything other than booze and tobacco products.
  • New regulations dropped the limits imposed on physical stores – which may still sell only approved items – entirely.
  • But e-tailers have to implement new measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, and they must promote local goods.

 

As of Thursday South African online stores may sell any product other than booze and cigarettes under Alert Level 4.

 

According to new regulations published on Thursday afternoon, e-commerce sites are no longer limited to the small range of items that physical stores may sell – though they (and customers receiving packages) must comply with new requirements to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

 

The new directions are immediately in effect.

 

South Africa had been one of the only countries in the world to shut down online e-commerce, apart from the sale of essential goods, during its national Covid-19 lockdown.

 

E-tailers had been limited to the same limited list of goods legal for bricks-and-mortar retailers to sell. But on Wednesday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that restrictions on both retail and e-commerce would be eased for Alert Level 4, even before much of the country moves to Level 3 at the end of May.

 

Now online shoppers can buy anything again, with only alcoholic drinks and tobacco products still restricted. That will also apply to parts of the country that do not move to Level 3 because of a high rate of SARS-CoV-2 infection, and will continue to apply should South Africa move back up to the present Level 4 again in future.

 

At the same time, online stores must now promote local goods.

 

"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," the new rules read.

 

Online retailers are also require to "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."

 

In a section of the regulations dealing with definitions, courier services are said to "include the delivery divisions of retailers and delivery services set up by spaza shops and informal traders", pointing to how the government believes poorer consumers may gain effective access to online shopping.

 

Source: https://www.businessinsider.co.za/online-shopping-allowed-level-4-2020-5

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