Ramaphosa opens the taps

South Africa will likely experience a countrywide hangover on Wednesday morning after President Cyril Ramaphosa lifted the booze ban on Monday night.

Restaurants will be able to serve alcohol, the curfew has been reduced (from 11pm to 4am), and beaches and public spaces are open again, Ramaphosa said on Monday night during his latest “family meeting”.

He also said that bottle stores will be able to sell alcohol on Mondays to Thursdays, from 10am to 6pm.

“These changes have been made possible by the significant reduction in Covid-19 hospital admissions across all provinces, reducing the pressure on beds and hospital personnel,” he said.

He urged everyone to continue to wash their hands, practise social distancing and behave responsibly.

Cabinet had decided to ease Adjusted Level 3 restrictions because of a “clear decline” in new infections, hospital admissions and deaths, he added.

The restrictions in full are:

  • The hours of the curfew will now be from 11pm to 4am. “Establishments will need to close by 10pm to allow their customers and staff to return home by curfew,” Ramaphosa said.
  • Faith-based gatherings will be permitted, but may not exceed 50 people for indoor venues and 100 people for outdoor venues. Smaller venues can have half of their capacity.
  • Public places such as beaches, dams, rivers, parks and public swimming pools will be reopened subject to health protocols.
  • Off-site alcohol sales by licensed premises are permitted from Mondays to Thursdays, from 10am to 6pm.
  • Restaurants and taverns can sell alcohol throughout the week from 10am to 10pm.

But Ramaphosa asked the country to “drink responsibly so that we do not experience a spike in trauma cases or an increase in infections due to reckless behaviour”.

“You have understood that no walk on the beach, no picnic in the park, and no late-night party is worth the loss of life that has been prevented by these restrictions.

“While these restrictions are temporary, the loss of life is permanent.”

Picture source: GCIS