Partial ban on Easter booze sales as SA remains on lockdown level 1

30 March 2021 - 20:04
By aphiwe deklerk AND Aphiwe Deklerk
President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.
Image: GCIS President Cyril Ramaphosa. File photo.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced yet another booze ban amid fears of a third wave of Covid-19 infections — but this time it will affect off-site consumption only, and will last four days.

Addressing the nation on Tuesday night, Ramaphosa said the latest ban covered the upcoming long weekend only, from Good Friday to Easter Monday. The ban applies only to sales for off-site consumption.

“Given the role of alcohol in fuelling reckless behaviour, we will put in place some restrictions over the Easter weekend. To this end, the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption will be prohibited this coming Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Just those four days.

“On-site sales at restaurants, shebeens and bars will be allowed, but this will be according to licensing conditions and also to the limitations of time, up until 11pm,” said Ramaphosa.

The ban on alcohol sales is the only tightened restriction, with Ramaphosa saying the country would remain on level 1 — albeit with “a few adjustments”.

Unlike during the festive season, when the country was faced with a second wave of infections, Ramaphosa has decided to keep beaches, dams and public areas, like parks, open.

Inter-provincial travel has also been left in place, with the current curfew from midnight to 4am remaining unchanged.

Of the Easter weekend, Ramaphosa said: “For many, this will be a welcome moment to pause and rest, whether from work or from our studies, and from the pressures of the last months. Many of us have made plans for the upcoming long weekend. Some of us will be heading out of town; others will be visiting friends and family.

“Many of us will be attending gatherings and celebrations. For millions of people, this is also a time of religious observance. While the rate of transmission remains stable, we cannot let our guard down. This is a time when caution is needed more than ever.”

Ramaphosa urged South Africans to minimise the risk of transmitting Covid-19.

“The reality is that greater movement of people, interprovincial travel, greater use of public transit and gatherings present a great risk of an increase in infections,” he said.

He said the latest adjustments to the lockdown was after he sought the advice of experts and consulted representatives of provincial and local government, and traditional leaders.

“We are not yet ready to return to normal life because of this virus. For the second year in a row, we will have to limit our interactions, particularly during the Easter period,” Ramaphosa said.