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COVID-19 lockdown: Alcohol sales banned in South Africa again

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President Cyril Ramaphosa said that several of the level-3 regulations are being tightened on Monday, while everything possible is being done to keep the economy open. 

For 14 days, all indoor and outdoor events will be banned, except for funerals and some restrictions such as restaurants, gyms, and casinos. The Minister will set this out clearly in the regulations. More than 50 people may not attend funerals. Each business premises must determine how many customers they may serve based on the guidelines over a healthy distance. The national check-in rule will apply from 21:00 to 06:00. All non-essential premises, such as restaurants and bars, must be closed by 20:00.

Ramaphosa says social gatherings are associated with alcohol use in places such as restaurants, nightclubs, and taverns and contribute to risky behavior because people under the influence of alcohol take off their masks. Alcohol abuse also increases trauma cases in hospitals. The cases include gunshot wounds, car accidents, and stab wounds. This puts unnecessary pressure on health facilities close to their full capacity in several provinces. In the Eastern Cape, the number of hospitalizations has already exceeded that in the first wave. Several provinces are working hard to find more beds and oxygen.

According to Ramaphosa, the beverage industry is making an important contribution to the economy, but the priority must be to save lives. Alcohol abuse contributes to virus transmissions, and alcohol-related incidents put pressure on hospitals. Every piece of medical equipment, every hospital bed, every healthcare worker, and every oxygen tank is needed to save lives. Therefore, the sale of alcohol will be prohibited, as well as the drinking of alcohol on-premises.

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