The proverbial light at the end of the lockdown tunnel is getting brighter by the day, and we’re so excited to be able to start planning our next travel adventures. First on our list… road tripping! Nothing beats the thrill of the open road with your clan, amiright? Tunes blaring in the car, windows rolled down (yes, even in winter – it’s been a long lockdown!), and the horizon ahead promising new memories... In the immortal words of Willie Nelson, we “just can’t wait to get on the road again.”
Travelling Safely during Covid-19
Yay for travel! If you’ve missed hearing boarding calls (we have!), you’ll be happy to know that as lockdown eases, more local travel will be allowed. Just don’t expect it to be like the good old days. Travel, as we know it, has changed forever, and strict health and safety protocols will be the norm.
UPDATE 31 JULY: It’s official – intra-provincial leisure travel is allowed!
Your weekend plans are sorted! But before you book your getaway, make sure you understand the new Level 3 leisure travel definition: you can’t cross provincial borders, but you can travel within your home province and explore all the attractions and activities you’ve been missing since lockdown was announced.
So, what are you waiting for? Pack those bags and hit the road! Here’s some inspiration for the best road trips from your city. Just make sure you travel safely with our Level 3 safe travelling guide.
Browse our local travel deals and Book Now for your long-awaited getaway!
UPDATE 18 JUNE 2020
- Travelling for business: Form 2 must be signed by your manager.
- Moving residence or moving to care for an immediate family member: You’ll need a Form 6 affidavit, sworn at a police station or Magistrate’s Court.
- Student travel: Form 3A/3B as applicable. This must be signed by the head of your school or tertiary institution.
- Attending a funeral or transporting mortal remains: Form 4 and Form 5 as applicable. This must be sworn at a police station or Magistrate’s Court.
- Travelling with children: Form 3, sworn at a Magistrate’s Court.
UPDATE 12 June 2020: International flights open for travel under strict conditions
Not only can you now travel between provinces in South Africa, but government has announced that some international travel will be allowed too. However, the conditions in which you can travel abroad are extremely strict, and you’ll only be permitted to travel for one of these reasons: returning to your place of work or study outside of South Africa, and for repatriation and evacuation purposes.
Government is strongly discouraging non-essential travel, especially to Italy, Iran, South Korea, Spain, Germany, US and the UK, as these are considered “high risk” destinations. Flights will already be available from this weekend, to selected destinations including Buenos Aires, Sao Paolo and Washington. Destinations scheduled for next week include Hanoi and Bangkok.
If you are planning to travel internationally during this time, you will need to make arrangements directly with the Department of Home Affairs and provide them with the following (at least five working days ahead of the intended date of travel):
- A copy of your valid South African passport
- A letter confirming that you have a valid visa or permit, issued by the country where you are heading
- If you are transiting through another country, proof of permission to transit
- Proof of the ticket, and the intended date of departure
- Bona-fide proof why travel is required
For more information, please visit: https://www.flysaa.com/za/en/repatriation.action
UPDATE 8 JUNE 2020
Good news! You can now travel between provinces in South Africa. As of 8 June, selected airlines have reopened for domestic travel… but only for business travel and special circumstances, and with a fair whack of rules and limitations attached – like needing a permit.
So, if business travel is allowed, will holiday travel follow soon?
It all depends on how well the new system holds up. In the meantime, we’ve noticed you’ve been snapping up our incredible deals for travel later in the year! Good planning on your part, because despite leisure travel still being prohibited under the current regulations, there’s a strong chance that the tourism industry will open sooner than expected.
Phased approach for travel in South Africa
Just like lockdown is being eased level by level, so too must air travel resume one step at a time. Under the current conditions, limited air travel is allowed between OR Tambo International Airport, Cape Town International Airport and King Shaka International Airport.
- CemAir launched flights between Johannesburg and Cape Town from 5 June and Johannesburg and Durban from 8 June.
- Airlink launched a limited air service from 8 June.
- Mango and FlySafair will return to the skies from 15 June.
Who’s allowed to travel in Level 3?
Besides travelling for business, there are 9 reasons why you’ll be allowed to cross provincial borders – whether by air, road or rail. You can travel if you are:
- Moving to a new place of residence.
- Caring for an immediate family member.
- A member of parliament performing oversight responsibilities.
- A learner or student travelling to schools or institutions when permitted.
- Attending a funeral.
- Transporting mortal remains.
- Obtaining medical treatment.
- Returning to your place of residence from quarantine or isolation.
- Any other movement permitted under regulation 4.
What permits and paperwork do you need?
For business travellers, you will need a “Form 2” permit (regulation 16 (2)(b) and 28(4) declaring that your travel is for business reasons along with a letter on a company letterhead signed by a manager. There are instances in which an affidavit will pass muster, but rather be safe than sorry and check with the airline directly.
In other instances, you will need the relevant particulars, for example a death certificate to attend a funeral. Check with your Pentravel Expert when making your travel arrangements.
The same rules apply if you’re self-driving from one province to another or are using public road or rail transport.
What to expect at the airport and onboard your flight?
Welcome to a new era of travel. Things will probably never go back to the way they were before, and you can expect strict hygiene measures and safety regulations to become the norm. Some of the advancements to be fast-tracked include WhatsApp boarding passes and e-bag tags.
For now, these are the do’s and don’ts of flying in the time of coronavirus:
- Do not leave home without your permit or permission letter, proof of identity, proof of ticket and health declaration.
- There will only be a limited amount of parkades available. Rather drop and go.
- Only those travelling may enter the terminal building. That’s right – no more hugs goodbye at the security checkpoint, and no hellos at the Arrivals hall.
- Baggage wrapping is now compulsory for all checked luggage.
- A limited number of check-in counters will be open and physical distancing rules will apply in these queues.
- Physical distancing rules will apply at all times.
- Do not remove your mask. From the moment you enter the airport, throughout the flight, to leaving your destination airport, you are required to wear a face mask.
- Port Health will be conducting health screening tests at all the entrances.
- You will be required to scan your own paper-based or mobile device-based boarding pass on the scanner at the security checkpoint.
- You will also need to remove any metal or electronic items from your person before entering the security queue. This includes mobile devices, watches, jewellery, wallets and keys, and place them in the tray at the security scanner to minimise the need for physical pat-downs.
- Physical distancing rules apply in the queues to board the aircraft, and you will once again scan your own boarding pass at the boarding gate.
- Boarding the aircraft will be done in phases so that the rows are filled from the back first.
- Onboard, there will be no catering, and no magazines.
- You have to wear your mask throughout the flight.
- Physical distancing is required at the baggage carousels, and crowding will not be permitted.
What’s the deal with the middle seat?
According to research from IATA, blocking the middle seat is not a significantly effective measure in actually preventing the spread of COVID-19 from one person to another as long as other important measures are being implemented. However, most airlines will be seating passengers strategically, and filling window and aisle seats first. Some carriers are also offering you the option to make sure the middle seat is blocked out – for a small fee of course.
Breathe easy! Over and above the middle seat, it’s important to know that the air up there, is clear. Aircrafts are fitted with sophisticated air recycling systems that completely renew the cabin air every 2- 3 minutes. These systems employ High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters that are identical to those used in operating theatres.
Available accommodation in Level 3 lockdown?
While accommodation remains closed to the public for most purposes, South African hotels are steadily coming online to meet the demand from business travellers, with several already accepting bookings and others planning on opening from mid-June. Hotels will in all likelihood request proof that you’re allowed to travel, and you may be required to pay cash. For hygiene reasons, don’t expect a breakfast buffet.
With all the dotting of i’s and crossing of t’s needed, there’s never been a better time to let a pro handle your travel plans. Our Pentravel experts are standing by to make the process as seamless as possible for you, so book an appointment now.
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