Ban on alcohol and cigarettes to remain until end of lockdown
The South African Government has stated on Twitter that the ban on the sales of alcohol and tobacco products will remain in place throughout the lockdown period.
In a tweet posted on Wednesday, the government’s official Twitter account stated that the purpose of the ban was to “save lives and protect the health and well-being of our people”.
“The ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarette [sic] will remain in place throughout the lockdown period,” the government said.
It supplemented the tweets with images from the Social Cluster Briefing on 13 July 2020 providing the data for reasons behind the ban.
The sale of tobacco products has been banned since the start of South Africa’s lockdown on 27 March.
The ban on alcohol sales was lifted under lockdown alert level 3, but was reinstated with “immediate effect” in President Ramaphosa’s address to the nation on 12 July 2020.
Ramaphosa said the decision was made following consultations with health scientists and experts, and a rise in alcohol-related trauma cases at hospitals.
Fightback against alcohol ban
This follows after restaurants protested the fightback against the government’s lockdown restrictions on the sale and distribution of alcohol.
The main issue which restaurants are fighting for is to allow all establishments with a valid liquor license to sell and distribute alcohol.
Restaurant Association of South Africa CEO Wendy Alberts said the current restrictions on liquor sales make it impossible for restaurants to make ends meet.
She said the government can impose alcohol restrictions in hotspots with a lot of alcohol-related trauma, instead of a national ban.
Other proposals include a limit of two drinks per meal and that alcohol can only be sold when a person orders a main meal.
The local alcohol industry has also pushed back against the reintroduction of the liquor ban, stating that it is under enormous financial pressure.
Distell CEO Richard Rushton said it is seeking legal advice regarding the fact that it was not consulted regarding the “immediate” ban and whether the decision is “fair and reasonable”.
“We reiterate our commitment to partner with the government to create a social compact that drives behavioural change regarding the use and consumption of alcohol,” industry spokesperson Sibani Mngadi previously told the Sunday Times.
Images from the Social Cluster Briefing on 13 July 2020 which government provided to outline the reasons behind the alcohol ban are shown below.