With President Cyril Ramaphosa having made the announcement that South Africa will shift down to Level 1 of the nationwide lockdown on Wednesday 16 September, the sale of alcohol is now set to be permitted from Monday to Friday.
During Level 2, sales at bottle stores were allowed from Monday to Thursday, with sales prohibited on Fridays and over the weekend in a bid limit the amount of people heading to stock up on booze and, in equal measure, to curb crime levels during lockdown.
Alcohol sales permitted from 9-5, Monday to Friday
Alcohol will be allowed to be sold at bottle stores and licensed supermarkets from Monday to Friday between the hours of 9:00 and 17:00. These amendments to the disaster management act will come into effect from midnight on Sunday 20 September when the new laws become active.
“The alcohol will now be allowed at licensed retailers for off-site consumption from Monday to Friday from 9am to 17:00,” said Ramaphosa. “On site consumption is permitted at licensed businesses only under strict conditions.”
He said that this and other changes to the lockdown laws are being made in an effort to return to the “new normal”.
“It is now time to remove as many restrictions on social and economic activity as it is reasonably safe to do,” he said.
Government’s hard stance on excessive drinking
Government has taken a hard stance on alcohol abuse in the last few months, the blanket ban on its sale notwithstanding. A zero-tolerance policy on drunk-driving has been implemented in the last month, meaning that drivers may not consume a drop of liquor before getting behind the wheel.
Minister in the Presidency, Jackson Mthembu, also lamented South Africa’s “terrible drinking culture” when dismissing reports that more stringent laws were set to come into place in August.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has blamed rampant crime on the abuse of alcohol, and indicated that he would support more stringent laws on its sale being introduced at a later stage.