Every type of product can now be transacted through e-commerce platforms with the exception of the obvious widely talked about products – Tobacco and Alcohol.

The Department of Trade, Industry and Competition published new regulations today which would allow e-commerce stores to return to normalcy after President Ramaphosa made an announcement on Thursday where he said that there would be changes to level 4 regulations to expand permitted business activities in the retail space and eCommerce.

The changes in e-commerce are as follows:

  • All Regulations and Directions in respect of hygienic workplace conditions and the potential exposure of employees to COVID-19 must be adhered to.
  • Employees may not share face masks, equipment, stationery, utensils or similar items.
  • 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.

Changes for customers

  • 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.

Changes for delivery services

  • All Regulations and Directions in respect of hygienic workplace conditions and the potential exposure of employees to COVID-19 must be adhered to.
  • In addition, employees may not share face masks, equipment, stationery, utensils or similar items.
  • 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.
  • All courier and delivery personnel must have their own hand sanitiser and disinfectant wipes, which must be refilled daily.
  • Courier and delivery personnel must wear a cloth face mask that covers the nose and mouth when delivering goods to customers.
  • Courier and delivery personnel must maintain at least one and a half metres distance from other courier or delivery personnel when collecting goods for delivery and customers when delivering goods.
  • Courier and delivery service personnel may not enter the home of a customer if such customer and any other residents within the immediate vicinity are not wearing a cloth face mask or a homemade item that covers the nose and mouth.

This announcement and changes come after there have been growing pressure from the e-commerce industry prompting the government to allow companies to do business as usual while respecting social distancing regulations.

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