Government moves swiftly to gazette new Covid-19 lockdown regulations, including alcohol sales ban

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

File picture: African News Agency (ANA)

Published Jul 12, 2020


Johannesburg - The government has moved swiftly to gazette regulations putting into immediate effect a ban on alcohol sales and the introduction of a nighttime curfew.

The amended regulations were released by the Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs minutes after President Cyril Ramaphosa addressed the nation on Sunday night. 

The regulations have been promulgated under the Disaster Management Act and have been signed by Cogta Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma. 

The regulations include a reintroduction of an immediate ban on alcohol sales. A curfew of between 9 pm and 4 am and the legal requirement for citizens to wear masks in public. 

Other changes see the taxi industry being appeased with it being allowed to operate at 100% capacity for short-distance travel. For long distances, the industry can operate at 70% capacity. The industry would also need to ensure compliance with the wearing of masks and sanitising passengers and the opening of windows during travel. 

The president said these measures were necessary as the country remained under level 3 of the risk-adjusted national lockdown. He said returning to higher levels would have a devastating impact on the economy. 

The country as of Sunday recorded 12 048 cases and an additional 108 deaths. The total tally of cases stands at 276 242 and 134 874 recoveries. The death tally stood at 4079. 

Following Ramaphosa's address, some had questioned the legality of his announcement as no legal regulation had been gazetted at the time. But the government moved quickly to gazette the changes minutes after Ramaphosa concluded his address. 

The DA has moved to criticise the government's strategy calling it "gimmicks". 

DA leader John Steenhuisen said what the country needed was to build a treatment plan and not focus on curfews and banning alcohol. 

"The argument that alcohol trauma is putting the system under pressure is simply an excuse and coverup for this failure. Alcohol is the scapegoat, not the reason. A curfew gives an illusion of control when quite clearly the government has no control over the real issue, which is treatment and testing capacity. These are false narratives that should not divert us from what we need to do.

"The DA rejects the ban on family visits. It fundamentally undermines the right to dignity and goes to the heart of what makes us human. How can it be legal to visit a casino or a church service with 49 other people, but illegal to see one's own family?" Steenhuisen said. 

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