Sale, transport of alcohol banned. ‘For 21 days, please stay sober.’

Business Insider SA
Bheki Cele, minister of police. Photo: Netwerk24
  • South Africans won't be able to buy alcohol during the three-week lockdown, government has announced.
  • No-one will be allowed to transport alcohol during this time.
  • All the alcohol you need for the next three weeks, need to be in your house by tomorrow night.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.

South Africans won’t be able to buy alcohol during lockdown, including not from supermarkets.

No-one will be allowed to transport alcohol during this time, government announced on Wednesday evening. South Africans will only be allowed to consume alcohol at home - and everything they need for the next three weeks will have to be there by tomorrow night. 

Perpetrators found guilty of lockdown offenses will get a fine or six months in jail, or both.

 “For 21 days, please stay sober,” said police minister Bheki Cele at a media briefing. He said that the expected decline in accidents and assaults due to the ban on buying alcohol will free up much-needed space in hospitals during the coronavirus crisis.

Earlier on Wednesday, Business Insider reported that emergency responders and hospitals have already seen large decreases in injuries due to car crashes and violent assaults following the introduction last week of strict new rules for selling alcohol.

Read: Car crashes, violence down in SA after new alcohol rules, emergency responders say

All restaurants will be closed, and food can only be bought from grocery shops and prepared at home during lockdown, Cele said. There should be no reason to be on the road, he added. Food deliveries have been ruled out.

Read: Amid govt infighting, SA becomes one of the only countries to ban food deliveries

Minibus taxis (as well as Uber and Bolt) may only be on the roads between 05:00 to 09:00, and from 16:00 to 20:00.

Only people who are essential services workers, as well as South Africans buying food, seeking medical attention, going to a funeral service or those seeking payment of grants will be permitted to use taxis.

Government also announced on Wednesday that shops will only be allowed to sell food and basic goods during the lockdown, and South Africans won’t be able to shop for non-essentials.

Read: New restrictions on what stores can sell during lockdown

This will cut the time people spend in store as well as the number of people in shops, said Ebrahim Patel, minister of trade and industry. Only fifty people will be allowed in a shop at the same time, and they must be one metre apart at all times. Stores will be limited to selling food and essential goods, government announced.

No-one will be allowed to buy clothes – even if the grocery store (for example Woolworths or Pick n Pay) usually sells clothes or homeware. 

South Africa will go into a national lockdown on Friday, 27 March (immediately after midnight on Thursday), to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday night. The shutdown will last for 21 days.

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