File picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)
File picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency (ANA)

Alcohol sales restricted, but beaches open and gatherings allowed over Easter – Ramaphosa

By Kelly Jane Turner Time of article published Mar 30, 2021

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President Cyril Ramaphosa has announced the country will remain on alert level 1 of the lockdown, however, a ban has been placed on the sale of alcohol for four days starting on Good Friday.

Ramaphosa was addressing the nation on Tuesday evening through his now infamous “family meeting’’ to give an update on the government’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The move comes days before the long Easter weekend, which experts have revealed is likely to be a contributing factor to the rise in cases if South Africans host mass gatherings and do not adhere to mask wearing and sanitising.

His address follows meetings with the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and cabinet.

“We are not yet ready to return to normal life because of this virus. We will have to limit our interactions particularly during the Easter period,” he said.

“For the past two weeks, the number of new cases has remained relatively stable at around 1 200 new cases per day. The number of hospitalisations is declining as is the number of deaths.

“While the rate of transmission remains stable, we cannot let our guard down. This is a time that caution is needed now more than ever. The reality is that greater movement of people, interprovincial travel present a great risk in the increase of infections.

In his weekly newsletter, Ramaphosa called for caution as the upcoming Easter weekend, the start of the holy month of Ramadaan, and other mass gatherings could lead to a surplus of Covid-19 cases.

The unchanged level 1 regulations include:

  • On-site sale of alcohol will be allowed until 11pm
  • Curfew 12-4am
  • Public places, such as beaches and parks will remain open with health protocols
  • Funerals restricted to maximum 100 people
  • Interprovincial travel will still be permitted

The adjusted restrictions include:

  • The sale and distribution of alcohol for off-site consumption, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday
  • Religious gatherings over the Easter Weekend will be restricted to 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors, or no more than 50% of the venue capacity

The president said that while there have been delays in the country’s vaccination process, the government has secured enough doses to vaccinate around 40 million people.

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