It’s in black and white – tobacco products and alcohol will be on sale from midnight on Monday.
Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has gazetted regulations governing level two of the risk-adjusted national lockdown.
Many South Africans will breathe a sigh of relief, as the drama that played out the last time – when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that tobacco will be allowed to go on sale when the country moved to level four of the lockdown, only to have a U-turn announced by Dlamini-Zuma a few days later.
Dlamini Zuma addressed the national coronavirus command council briefing on Monday.
The briefing followed Ramaphosa’s announcement on Saturday that because cases of infection had decreased and hospital admissions were declining, this provided the country with an opportunity to open up more sectors of the economy.
The new rules allowed for the sale of cigarettes and vaping products. And alcohol can be purchased for onsite consumption at licensed restaurants or taverns for example throughout the week, until 10pm.
This is what will be permitted under level 2:
- Funeral remains limited at 50 people;
- Family visits are allowed, but only 10 people are allowed to visit a household;
- The curfew has been moved to between 10pm and 4am;
- Alcohol can be sold between Monday and Thursday from 9am until 5pm. Alcohol can also be purchased from bars and restaurants until 10pm;
- Night vigils remained banned;
- Fitness centres and gyms will be allowed to operate but with only 50 allowed. Hygiene protocols should be followed at all times;
- Inter-provincial travel is allowed;
- Cinema, casinos and theatres can operate at 50% capacity;
- Restrictions on beaches and parks can be lifted. Environmental sectors such as zoos can operate;
- International travel remains banned;
- Entertainment events can be hosted but will be limited to 50 people;
- No spectators are allowed at sporting events;
- The sale of tobacco products would now be permitted, however, a regulation stipulating this was not included in the latest government gazette; and
- Social events at places of residence are also permitted including visits to friends and family so long as there are no more than 10 visitors at a time.
Dlamini-Zuma cautioned that even though cases were stabilising in big provinces such as Gauteng and the Eastern Cape, it did not mean it was time to be complacent.
She advised citizens to continue following health protocols and wearing of masks in public spaces.
“We must exercise more caution than before; it is our actions that determine our future. When we open up the economy [it] does not mean risks are low,” she said.
Dlamini-Zuma echoed President Cyril Ramaphosa’s sentiments that South Africans needed to remain vigilant because the Covid-19 pandemic had not been defeated yet.
Dlamini-Zuma said that with the many restrictions on social and economic activity expected to be lifted from midnight on Monday, there was also an increased risk of transmission of the virus.
She urged South Africans to continue with health protocols of washing hands, sanitising, wearing masks, and social distancing.
The sale of cigarettes and tobacco products would be permitted under level 2 lockdown.
Dlamini-Zuma urged South Africans to act responsibly when they consumed alcohol and for smokers to not share cigarettes.
She urged South Africans to drink with caution and avoid drinking and driving. She added that when men are drunk, they should not hurt women and children.
She said that restaurants, bars, and taverns were permitted to operate but no more than 50 people were permitted at a time, including at funerals and religious events.
Dlamini-Zuma said that night clubs would remain closed under level two of the national lockdown due to the increased risk of infection.
The curfew would remain in place between the hours of 10pm and 4am, except where a person had been granted a permit.
For the duration of the national state of disaster initiation practices were prohibited.