South Africans with comorbidities and those who are ill are encouraged to continue wearing masks, advises the government, warning against complacency since the recent removal of the few remaining lockdown restrictions.
In a statement on 11 July, Cabinet commended those who chose to vaccinate and observe all COVID-19 protocols that resulted in the country averting rising numbers of new cases during the pandemic’s fifth wave of the pandemic.
It warned, however, that COVID-19 “is still in our midst”, reports Business Tech, and encouraged people to continue to wash/sanitise their hands and observe social distancing.
“Vaccination remains the scientifically proven defence against COVID-19 and Cabinet encourages all unvaccinated people to vaccinate without delay.” Those who have already been jabbed should “get their free booster shots at their nearest vaccine sites”.
“Although there is no legal requirement for employers to impose the wearing of face masks in the workplace, nothing precludes employers from implementing policies that require staff to continue wearing them while at work,” said Sibusiso Dube, partner at law firm Bowmans.
“The setting of rules and standards for the workplace remains the prerogative of an employer and, provided these rules are valid and reasonable, courts will not interfere.”
Dube noted that whether a rule is valid depends on if:
• The employer had the authority to make the rule in terms of the employment contract;
• The rule complies with applicable statutes or regulations; and
• The rule is reasonably required for the efficient, orderly and safe conduct of the employer’s business.
“If an employer is able to satisfy the requirements above, based on the prevailing circumstances at its workplace, then the rule will be found to be valid if challenged by an employee. Non-compliance with such a rule may attract sanctions.
“What is clear is that the law does not require any individual to wear a face mask in the workplace or otherwise.”
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