People will not be allowed to carry alcohol in their cars when they visit friends and families over the Easter long weekend, Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma has announced.
"Over the weekend, the police will be doing roadblocks and stuff. [People] are not allowed to be carrying alcohol and stuff from one place to the other," she said on Thursday morning.
Dlamini-Zuma, who briefed the media on the National Coronavirus Command Council's (NCCC) reasoning behind the latest lockdown restrictions, also explained the government's decision to ban off-site sales over the long weekend.
After President Cyril Ramaphosa's address on Tuesday, where he announced the ban, the SA Liquor Brand Owners' Association (Salba) wanted the government to explain the rationale that informed restrictions on off-site sales only.
Dlamini-Zuma said the decision was a precautionary measure to try to prevent the reoccurrence of what happened in December 2020 when the number of Covid-19 infections started rising rapidly because of gatherings.
She said the NCCC learnt hard lessons in December about mixing off-site alcohol consumption with gatherings.
"Having learnt from what happened in December, we have to take precautions because we know that during the Easter weekend, there are lots of movements. There are lots of gatherings. Besides the faith-based gatherings, there are also all sorts of other gatherings," said Dlamini-Zuma.
In her isiZulu briefing, Dlamini-Zuma explained that when people drink at these gatherings, alcohol clouds their judgement, social distancing gets thrown out the window, and masks are forgotten.
The NCCC hoped that on-site traders such as restaurants and bars would keep an eye on their patrons to ensure that they adhere to social distancing protocols.
Dlamini-Zuma pleaded with establishments who have on-site licences not to turn themselves into off-site traders or allow their patrons to take their open bottles with them. The minister also allayed fears that government intended to extend the off-site alcohol sales ban after the Easter weekend. She said off-site alcohol sales would resume on Tuesday morning.