Cigarette sales, outdoor exercise to be eased from May 1, but booze ban stays

23 April 2020 - 21:23
By TimesLIVE
President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation on Thursday, 23 April 2020.
Image: Siyabulela Duda/GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation on Thursday, 23 April 2020.

Cigarette sales will be permitted when the lockdown is partially eased from May 1.

This is one of the looming changes announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa when he addressed the nation on Thursday night about government's plan to impose various levels of lockdown to tackle the coronavirus pandemic and restart the economy.

Alcohol sales, however, will not be permitted.

Bars and shebeens will also remain closed.

The liquor and cigarette industries had threatened legal challenges to overturn the prohibitions, implemented at the start of the lockdown on April 27, citing the loss of its customers to illegal traders and the large loss of taxes to the government.


Under the slightly eased regulations, from May 1, Ramaphosa said the country's borders will remain closed except for the repatriation of citizens. The ban on travel between provinces will largely remain, except for the transportation of goods and in some cases for funerals.

Public transport will operate with a limited number of passengers but they will all have to wear face masks, said Ramaphosa.

While the sale of cigarettes will be permitted, so will outdoor exercise under strict conditions. These are yet to be revealed.

Mass gatherings at places such as bars, shebeens, concert venues, cinemas, sporting events and religious gatherings will remain prohibited.

This is a developing story.