Level 4 coming: Booze ban, leisure travel in Gauteng nixed, parks to close, say sources
Restrictions set to be for 3 weeks; Liquor traders will lobby for income support from government if ban is imposed
President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to move the country to alert level four, banning the sale of alcohol immediately, in a bid to curb the spread of Covid-19 infections, sources told TimesLIVE.
“Alcohol banned for both off and on sales and transportation,” said a source close to the discussions taking place in the president's co-ordinating council currently under way.
TimesLIVE also understands that when the president delivers his address at 8pm on Sunday night, he will put in place a curfew restricting people to their homes between 9pm and 4am.
All gatherings will be prohibited except funerals.
It is understood that restaurants will only be permitted to sell takeaways.
Parks and beaches will also be closed.
There will also be a travel ban to and from Gauteng for leisure.
Another source said the restrictions would be in force for three weeks.
Schools would close on Wednesday, said the source, though another said the closure would be at a date determined by the minister of basic education.
Convener of the National Liquor Traders Council Lucky Ntimane said, “News coming from the [council's] deliberations points to a ban on alcohol as a strategy that government wants to implement to fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We strongly feel that this is a short-sighted approach that will condemn our people to perpetual poverty as they were looking to recover from the previous three unjust bans.”
Ntimane said if the government followed through with this “blunt and unscientific approach, we will be forced to protect our livelihoods in other means necessary”.
“We will not allow ourselves to be subjected to bans without financial support from government to cushion against the blows that the bans put us through.
“There is no vaccine for poverty and we are in no position to allow ourselves to go hungry when government stumbles from one incompetence to another in their monumental failure to place the health of our people first through vaccinations.”
Ntimane added: “We believe there is enough room and space to balance the issue of lives and livelihoods without compromising the health sector dealing with the pandemic. At the end of the day it is all our hands to fight this pandemic and we shouldn't have to do this on an empty stomach.”
Ramaphosa moved the country to alert level three two weeks ago after an increase in the number of infections, particularly in Gauteng.
The presidency on Sunday said Ramaphosa will address the nation on developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. The address follows meetings of the national coronavirus command council, president’s co-ordinating council (PCC) and cabinet.
On Saturday, acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi confirmed that an emergency meeting had been held on Saturday to discuss the rapid spread of the Delta variant of Covid-19 in SA.