Booze restrictions on cards as government considers tighter Covid-19 regulations

02 December 2020 - 14:31 By Genevieve Quintal and Tamar Kahn
The command council's recommendations will need to be approved by the cabinet before they can be implemented.
The command council's recommendations will need to be approved by the cabinet before they can be implemented.
Image: Picture: 123RF/BREIZ HATAO

The government is likely to implement tighter localised restrictions, including tighter restrictions on the sale of alcohol, to curb the spread of Covid-19 in hotspot areas as infections surge in parts of the Eastern Cape and Western Cape.

Business Day was reliably informed that the health department has recommended to the national coronavirus command council (NCCC), which met on Tuesday, that the government will also reduce the maximum size of indoor gatherings and implement an earlier curfew.

News24 reported on Wednesday that the NCCC agreed that a 10pm curfew be put in place in Covid-19 hotspots around the country, that alcohol sales be restricted from Monday to Thursday, and that bars and taverns close by 9pm.

The command council's recommendations will need to be approved by the cabinet before they can be implemented.

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation later this week about these new regulations.

The issue is pressing, as a large number of people are expected to travel between provinces after public schools close on December 15, then again when the festive season ends, raising the risk that they could reseed the epidemic in places where transmission is now low.

The entire country is at level 1 of the risk-adjusted strategy.

In November, Ramaphosa announced that level 1 regulations would be amended to allow for borders to be opened to all tourists and allow for normal trading hours for the sale of alcohol.

This allowed the tourism and alcohol sectors to start operating at full capacity after eight months of strict regulations that cost the industries billions of rand and led to widescale job losses.

The opening up of the sectors came amid concerns raised by business and labour about the government’s decision not to extend wage protection schemes for workers affected by the restrictions.

The temporary employer/employee Rrelief scheme (Ters), was extended for just one more month until October 15.

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