Ramaphosa closes lid on off-site booze sales ahead of spiritual weekend observations

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President Cyril Ramaphosa.
President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Presidency
  • President Cyril Ramaphosa said the sale of liquor for off-site consumption will be banned for the long weekend ahead, while on-site sales continue.
  • Ramaphosa addressed the country as government recorded 548 new Covid-19 infections and 47 deaths on Monday.
  • The update from Ramaphosa also comes ahead of the Easter weekend, which is notorious for its road fatalities, attributed in great part to alcohol consumption.


President Cyril Ramaphosa said the sale of liquor for off-site consumption will be banned for four days, covering the long weekend to prevent a surge in the spread of Covid-19 that could plunge the country into a third wave.

Ramaphosa addressed the country on Tuesday evening as government recorded 548 new Covid-19 infections and 47 deaths on Monday, but ahead of anticipated increases in movement and gatherings during the long weekend ahead.

The president did, however, say that the sale of alcohol on site will be allowed in line with licensing and Covid-19 protocols including the mandatory mask requirement for attendants in shebeens, bars and restaurants, limits to the number of attendants at gatherings and social distancing.

Ramaphosa said interprovincial travel will still be permitted during the period of the adjustments. However, he urged South Africans to limit traveling and to exercise caution and be responsible.

"Given the role of alcohol in fuelling reckless behaviour, the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption will be prohibited for Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Just for those four days," said Ramaphosa.

On-site sale of alcohol at restaurants, shebeens and bars will be allowed, but according to licence conditions, time limitations up to 23:00 in the evening and Covid-19 safety protocols.

Business in the liquor trade switched to attack mode earlier this week, challenging government to prove its reasoning for restricting the trade of alcohol before announcing that it would do so.

The update from Ramaphosa also comes ahead of the Easter weekend, which is notorious for its road fatalities, due in great part to alcohol consumption.

*This story has been corrected to reflect that the ban on off-site alcohol sales will be from Friday to Monday, and not on Thursday as well as initially reported. 

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