Booze, schools, gatherings affected as Ramaphosa imposes hard lockdown
In a bid curb the further spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, President Cyril Ramaphosa on Sunday imposed a hard lockdown which included a ban on the sale of alcohol from Monday.
“The sale of alcohol both for on-site and off-site consumption is prohibited. Our ministerial advisory committee has advised that the limited restrictions that we previously imposed were not that effective and that a prohibition will ease the pressure that is placed on hospital services by alcohol emergency related incidences,” said Ramaphosa.
The president was addressing the nation on Sunday night on developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic. He has placed the country on adjusted level 4.
The address follows meetings of the national coronavirus command council, the president’s co-ordinating council and cabinet.
The government was forced to meet on Saturday and Sunday following the shocking news of the Delta variant which is now dominant in South Africa.
The increasing number of infections in the Gauteng province has concerned the government.
In an act of balancing lives and livelihoods, Ramaphosa two weeks ago placed the country on alert level 3 due to the increasing number of infections.
“Cabinet needs to ensure that our responses are appropriate and proportionate to the current situation and additional restrictions are necessary.”
“All gatherings, whether indoors or outdoors, are prohibited, including cultural, social and religious gatherings. Funerals and cremations will continue to be permitted but attendance may not exceed 50 people and all social distancing and health protocols must be observed,” said Ramaphosa.
There will be no night vigils or after funeral “after tears” gatherings allowed.
“Beaches, parks will remain open, however no gatherings will be permitted at such venues.”
He said a curfew will be in place from 9pm until 4am and all non-essential establishments will need to close by 8pm.
Furthermore, travel in and out of Gauteng is prohibited. “Because of the burden in Gauteng, travel in and out of the province for leisure purposes will be prohibited. This does not include work, business of commercial travel, transit through airports or for the transport of goods.”
Ramaphosa said if you are currently not in your place of residence, you will be allowed to travel to and from Gauteng.
“Visits to old age homes, care facilities and other congregant settings will be restricted.”
Restaurants and other eateries will only be permitted to sell food for takeaway and delivery. “It is not possible for patrons in restaurants to wear masks while eating or drinking in these establishments.”
The closure of schools and other educational institutions for the winter holidays will be brought forward.
“Schools will start closing from this coming Wednesday the 30th of June and all schools are expected to be closed by the end of the week on Friday. Contact classes at tertiary institutions will end by Wednesday, the 30th of June with limited access to the institutions.”
He said residences will remain open in the institutions.
“These measures we are putting in place now are designed to allow as much economic activity to continue as possible while containing the spread of the virus. Most businesses will continue as long as they observe all the health protocols in their workplace.”
He said the aim was to limit social contact while preserving livelihoods.
The wearing of masks is compulsory and where possible, employers would allow their employees to work from home, said Ramaphosa.
He said the restrictions will be in place for the next 14 days.
“After 14 days we will examine exactly where we are and assess the impact on these interventions and restrictions after these 14 days to determine whether they need to be maintained or adjusted,” he said.