No, booze sales are not being banned from 15 December – but you may want to stock up
- There has been no announcement on an alcohol sales ban in South Africa, despite what you may have seen.
- An image appearing to be from the government, claiming such a ban will be imposed between 15 December and 3 January, is fake.
- But province-level discussions are real, and so are concerns about the ability of delivery services to keep up if new in-person retail restrictions are imposed.
- The government previously abandoned plans for local-level differentiated restrictions, in part for fear of alcohol smuggling across provincial or metro borders.
- So you may want to stock up on booze anyway.
- For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.
A ban on the sale of alcohol in South Africa has not been announced, despite what you may have seen.
A fake image purporting to be from the government says such a ban will be imposed between 15 December and 3 January, to combat a renewed surge in coronavirus infections.
No such decision has been taken, a range of sources confirm, and no such decision is thought to be imminent.
But you may want to stock up on booze ahead of the festive season anyway.
The Eastern Cape is believed to be considering a local-level ban on at least some types of alcohol sales, with bars and shebeens blamed in part for skyrocketing rates of infection in parts of Nelson Mandela Bay.
See also | Industry-funded 'community patrollers' to watch Eastern Cape bars and shebeens for coronavirus compliance
In both cases the sale of alcohol for on-premises consumption is likely to be up for debate, with the possibility of a ban on sales at bottle stores too – though officials are understood to be hoping for bans that can be lifted in time for traditional Christmas and New Year celebrations.
Industry experts have privately expressed concern that lockdowns affecting personal movement could put pressure on services that deliver alcoholic drinks directly to consumers, all the more so if any retail restrictions are imposed on alcohol sales too.
While small lockdowns rather than an increase in the national alert level is under discussion, the national government previously abandoned plans for a differentiated geographical approach, due to the complexity of implementation. One concern was that booze would be smuggled across provincial or metropolitan borders, from places where sales were legal to those where they were not, with no prospect of law enforcement being able to stop the flow.
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