Yesterday Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition, Ebrahim Patel, shocked a lot of South Africans when he announced that ecommerce platforms could sell anything they wanted.

While that excludes alcohol and cigarettes, the regulations clearly state that “all goods may be transacted through ecommerce”.

Naturally, there are some stipulations to this such as etailers being required to screen employees, record temperatures of employees and sanitise orders before they are sent out.

Indeed, Section 5 (e) of the regulations includes this statement,”When packaging goods, retailers must provide written guidelines for customers on how to safely disinfect their goods before use.”

But what else should customers be aware of when receiving online orders?

There are three very simple protocols government has asked South Africans to observe when receiving an order.

For one, the regulations state that customers receiving an order (and all people in the immediate vicinity of the delivery) should wear a cloth mask or a homemade item “that covers the nose and mouth when receiving goods from courier and delivery personnel”.

Pretty basic and we’re sure you can wear a mask for a few moments.

You will also need to maintain a distance of at least 1.5 metres when taking your delivery. We suspect this will mean the couriers will have to put the package on the ground for you to pick up.

Finally, government encourages you to disinfect your goods. While this seems like overkill, I have personally been disinfecting groceries since lockdown began and the amount of dirt I’ve wiped off of packaging is scary.

There is no mention of protocols which should be observed when goods are returned but we’re going to point out the obvious and say that if you wish to return an item, disinfect it before handing it over.

To sum up then:

  • Wear a mask
  • Keep your distance
  • Disinfect your delivery

The regulations above are in effect right now and for the duration of level 4 lockdown though we suspect it will take a bit of time for online retailers to warm up the engines and place their entire offering back up online.

[Image – CC 0 Pixabay]