South Africa - Pretoria - 18 August 2020 - Alcohol and cigarettes are back as South Africa moves to level 2 lockdown. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)
South Africa - Pretoria - 18 August 2020 - Alcohol and cigarettes are back as South Africa moves to level 2 lockdown. Picture: Thobile Mathonsi/African News Agency(ANA)

Easing of lockdown curbs in Tshwane embraced

By James Mahlokwane Time of article published Aug 19, 2020

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Pretoria – Lockdown alert level 2, which started on Tuesday, saw South Africans embracing the freedom to dine, smoke their favourite cigarettes and “wash their meals down” with beer and wine for the first time since March.

In the city, tavern owners queued at places like Ultra Liquor, Meyerspark, to stock up on liquor. However, it wasn't all smooth sailing from the morning as several restaurants, taverns and accommodation establishments found themselves waiting impatiently to receive stock.

At Taso’s Bar and Grill in Hazelwood, people arrived before alcohol was delivered and waited patiently until it arrived.

Manager Nita Rivers-de Sousa said: “We had a very busy day and are excited to serve our customers with beer and wine. Without beer and wine, we were really missing out on something important because people come here with their friends and families to relax and socialise and get to know each other. Although we lose a few hours because of the curfew, we are happy now.”

Susan Marais of [email protected] Guesthouse said people had been calling to book accommodation. She said they were normally very busy because they were 4.2km from the Union Buildings, 6.7km from Church Square, and just over 5km from the State Theatre and CSIR.

In Mamelodi, tavern operators Patric Hlatswayo and Lucas Molele said they were overjoyed beyond words.

Molele said: “As tavern operators, all we have to make money to feed our families is alcohol and cigarettes. The pandemic had taken all those things from us; that’s why we’re so happy today. This is how we pay for our cars, houses and send our children to school.”

DeVilliers Aveling of Tops at Spar in Lynnwood said he had no choice but to limit the number of certain items each customer could purchase.

“We just want to make sure we serve as many of our customers as possible. We understand a lot of people have been waiting and some were already calling trying to make pre-orders, but in the interests of giving everyone a fair chance we did not take pre-orders.”

In Pretoria East, smokers queued from before 7am when the Spar in Wapadrand opened its doors, owner Henrie van der Watt said. “I ordered my supply well in advance, but it seems as if the suppliers cannot keep up with the demand. I only got about two-thirds delivered of what I ordered.”

A smoker who did not want to be identified said she was at the door when it opened to buy her usual brand.

“I am fed up with the counterfeit brands, although I must admit that at the end they all tasted alike to me. But at least I no longer have to feel like a criminal in order to get my hands on a pack of smokes.”

Van der Watt, who is also owner of the adjacent Tops as well as the Tops at Lynnwood Lane centre, said there were few customers waiting to buy alcohol.

He said the ban on alcohol sales had cost him more than R80 000 in stock which he had had to destroy as the sell-by dates had lapsed.

Fitness enthusiasts were disappointed after the country’s largest health club, Virgin Active, announced it would not be opening despite being permitted to resume operations for the first time after five months.

Virgin Active said it wanted to ensure a safe environment for members when they returned. “Fortunately, we have the largest clubs in the country, which means that we will be able to adapt our clubs for social distancing without compromising your exercise experience.”

Virgin Active also said it would freeze the members’ memberships at no cost for the next two months.

“We’ll keep you updated on everything from an opening date, membership/freezing options available to you, debit orders and information regarding facilities available during this next stage,” it said.

Fit SA spokesperson Grant Austin said the 50 people-in-a-gym rule was the biggest challenge. He said it would be regrouping to try to engage the government to reconsider the number of members allowed in the gym.

He said the company was happy with the resumption of the fitness industry, as its biggest worry was job losses.

Business also boomed at petrol stations and stores as nicotine lovers queued to buy their favourite brands of cigarettes.

While the country’s beaches were also opened for the first time since March, popular seaside spots like Addington and uShaka beach in Durban remained deserted due to the cold weather.

*For the latest on the Covid-19 outbreak, visit IOL's #Coronavirus trend page.

** If you think you have been exposed to the Covid-19 virus, please call the 24-hour hotline on 0800 029 999 or visit sacoronavirus.co.za

Pretoria News

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