Contrary to World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines, South Africa’s opening of the economy is occurring before the pandemic has peaked. In June 2020, we moved to ‘advanced’ Level 3 where many sectors of the economy opened up, meaning that 95% of the workforce are currently expected to be back at work. While this approach is supported by business groups, concerns have been raised by labour unions about the threats posed and the scanty benefits that most working people will receive by doing so. We propose an alternative approach and policy recommendations to advance a better managed strategy for economic opening.

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