Picture: Courtney Africa African News Agency (ANA)
Picture: Courtney Africa African News Agency (ANA)

No word on cigarette sales ban as Ramaphosa eases more restrictions

By IOL Reporter Time of article published Jun 17, 2020

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Johannesburg - President Cyril Ramaphosa on Wednesday night eased more lockdown restrictions - including allowing sit-in restaurants, casinos, cinemas and some contact sports to reopen - but there was no word on the hotly contested tobacco sales ban. 

Smokers will have to cross their fingers and put their faith on Judge President Dunstan Mlambo in the North Gauteng High Court, who last week heard an application by the Fair Trade Independent Association, which took the government to court in a bid to force them to overturn the ban on cigarette sales. 

Last week in court, judgment was reserved on the matter. 

Another matter which had come before court last week, was the matter of personal care services. The DA had taken the government to court in the Western Cape High Court in a bid to force the government to overturn its decision to bar beauty bars and hair salons from operating. 

The matter was postponed in court on Friday for 10 days after counsel for Co-operative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma asked for more time to file papers.

The ministry had said at the time that its lawyers had informed the court that the protocols that would dictate safety measures for the industry to operate during the Covid-19 pandemic were being finalised.

EASED RESTRICTIONS 

  • Sit-in restaurants 

  • Accredited and licensed accommodation, with the exception of home sharing accommodation like AirBnB. 

  • Conferences and meetings for business purposes

  • Cinemas and theatres

  • Casinos

  • Personal care services, including hairdressers and beauty services 

  • Non-contact sports such as golf, tennis and cricket. 

“When I announced that the country would be moving to alert level 3 from the 1st of June, I said that we would be giving consideration to re-opening other sectors of the economy if the necessary safety precautions could be put in place and maintained. 

“Following further discussions with industry representatives on stringent prevention protocols, and after advice from scientists and consultation with Premiers, Cabinet has decided to ease restrictions on certain other economic activities. 

Ramaphosa said strict safety requirements had to be agreed to and adhered to before businesses could reopen. 

“Announcements will be made in due course to detail these measures and indicate the date from which these activities will be permitted. We have taken this decision with due care and seriousness, appreciating the risks associated with each activity and the measures needed to manage those risks. 

“Altogether, these industries employed over 500,000 people before the lockdown. We have had to think about these people and those who depend on them for their livelihoods. 

“Through the easing of the lockdown we are continuing to balance our overriding objective of saving lives and preserving livelihoods. 

“It is important to remember that this is a global pandemic and that most countries are facing similar challenges and must resolve similar dilemmas. We are therefore working closely with international agencies and other countries in responding to the coronavirus,” he said. 

IOL

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