How limited alcohol sales proposed in Nelson Mandela Bay could affect you

01 December 2020 - 12:30
Proposed restrictions in Nelson Mandela Bay include selling alcohol for off-site consumption, introducing an earlier curfew, restrictions on public gatherings and temporarily suspending sit-down alcohol sales for taverns.
Proposed restrictions in Nelson Mandela Bay include selling alcohol for off-site consumption, introducing an earlier curfew, restrictions on public gatherings and temporarily suspending sit-down alcohol sales for taverns.
Image: 123RF/Katarzyna Białasiewicz

Nelson Mandela Bay is considering several restrictions to fight the resurgence of Covid-19 infections, including limitations on how and when alcohol may be sold.

This is according to the Bay's acting mayor, Thsonono Buyeye, who told Cape Talk officials have presented proposed restrictions to health minister Zweli Mkhize.

What is proposed and who is affected? 

Buyeye said the proposed restrictions include selling alcohol for off-site consumption, introducing an earlier curfew, restrictions on public gatherings and temporarily suspending sit-down alcohol sales for taverns.

Buyeye, did not clarify whether alcohol sales would be affected at restaurants or licensed liquor stores.

“We had to call on tavern owners to have meetings with them to try to find a solution to the problem and ways to work together,” he said.

Why taverns?

Buyeye said the city’s tavern owners submitted a proposal to the city to allow takeaway alcohol sales due to concerns about the possibility of a second wave of Covid-19 infections.

“It is about time owners start doing things differently by making sure people don’t come and drink at their premises,” he said.

“Tavern owners say they are considering only selling takeaways. They've agreed. They've seen a lot of tavern owners succumbing to Covid-19.”

Why now? 

According to Buyeye, the festive season could see an increase in Covid-19 cases and the city is trying to curb new infections.

“The fear is that soon this upsurge we have in the city may start to spread across the entire country,” he said.”

It's December and many people will be coming and going.”

He said the proposals needed to be confirmed by the government’s national coronavirus command council, and a decision will be announced soon.

Other restrictions on the cards?

An ANC official in the Eastern Cape told the Sunday Times this week they were also considering imposing stricter restrictions, such as going back to level 3 lockdown.

“The decision was even welcomed by the taverners. The initial thinking by the minister was that we move to level 4. But the meeting reached a compromise that we would move to level 3.

“This means all taverns will have to close. There will be no on-site drinking and a stricter curfew will be introduced.”

However, Mkhize said no decision has been taken about moving the province to level 3.

How can this affect the country?

Prof Salim Abdool Karim,  head of the Covid-19 ministerial advisory committee, said if the Covid-19 resurgence in Nelson Mandela Bay is not immediately contained, SA risks spending January in a second wave.

“I am worried about December 16, when factories close and hundreds of thousands of people travel across the country, some of them to the Eastern Cape. Three weeks later, when the holidays are over, they will be taking the virus throughout the country,” he said.

He said said he was also worried about the state of the Eastern Cape health department, saying it “does not have the kind of capability we see in many of our provinces”. 

“They could not quell the outbreak. It was not controlled adequately and, before we knew it, it had spread. The way to stop a national outbreak is to get the Eastern Cape situation under control now.”


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