Bheki Cele says that police will allow establishments to stay open after 18:00 as long as they don’t serve any alcohol. However, liquor stores must close.
Police Minister Bheki Cele has declared that the South African Police Service (SAPS) will allow establishments to stay open after 18:00 as long as they don’t serve alcohol.
Cele delivered the declaration at a media briefing on Thursday in statements that appear to contradict government-gazetted restrictions on nightlife during the COVID-19 disaster.
Alcohol may not be sold after 18:00
On Wednesday, government gazetted that all establishments that sell alcohol will have to close at 18:00 each weekday, and at 13:00 on Sundays and public holidays. Licensed establishments can only open again at 09:00.
Cele’s loosening of the enforcement of the restrictions comes after an outcry from owners of restaurants and eateries who warned that such measures would put thousands of people out of work.
The police minister said that what would be enforced was a full ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol in establishments after the cut-off times. Effectively meaning that alcohol can only be consumed at home after the 18:00 cut-off (13:00 on Sundays).
“You can do this at your father’s house but not at these places,” Cele said.
The restrictions that come into effect as part of the Disaster Management Act, will also have to be adhered to by liquor stores and supermarkets that sell alcohol.
No more sleeping at the tavern
Cele said SAPS would be strictly enforcing limits on the number of patrons allowed in a single establishment, capping eateries, pubs and the like at a maximum of 50 customers at any given time.
Gauteng community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko had already intimated that the country’s most densely populated province would put a stop to all-night drinking.
“Police just deal with enforcement, and people must comply with their licences,” Mazibuko said.
“They have been engaging all the tavern owners, and they’ve agreed that those that serve liquor, whether in a shebeen or a tavern, they must make sure that they must not exceed the number of 50 patrons at a serving time. And they have agreed that the distribution and consumption of liquor or alcohol on a weekday shall be ended at 18:00.
“No more sleeping at the tavern anymore.
“On weekends, bottle stores will adhere to their normal working times of 13:00 and those that serve alcohol will have to adhere to those hours. So for those who like to stay overnight at clubs, we’re in trouble.”
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