Citizen Reporter
2 minute read
18 Mar 2020
9:00 pm

Cele clarifies establishments can stay open, they just can’t serve alcohol after 6pm

Citizen Reporter

Establishments serving alcohol will only be allowed to serve 50 people at any point, or people face arrest.

Minister of Police Bheki Cele.

Police Minister Bheki Cele at a media briefing on Thursday appeared to contradict information that had been gazetted on Wednesday about restaurants and other establishments having to close early during the Covid-19 state of disaster.

Government gazetted that all establishments that sell alcohol will have to close at 6pm each day, and at 1pm on Sundays and public holidays. They can only open again at 9am.

Establishment management and owners cried out on Wednesday that they would not survive if they could not even serve food or non-alcoholic beverages after 6pm. They argued it could potentially put hundreds of thousands of people out of work overnight.

Cele said that what the police would enforce was that alcohol could not be purchased or served in these public places after the set times. Alcohol could only be consumed privately, at home after the restricted time.

He clarified that the restriction would also apply to Saturdays at 1pm.

“You can do this at your father’s house but not at these places.”

Liquor stores will have to keep the same hours. The have come into effect as part of the Disaster Management Act.

On Wednesday it was announced that restaurants and hotels, and all pubs, bars, clubs, taverns and shebeens will be affected, and they were barred from having more than 50 patrons at a time, or be shut down.

The granting of liquor licences was halted too for events.

Community safety MEC Faith Mazibuko had earlier said Gauteng would clamp down on all-night drinking sprees in shebeens and taverns to curb the spread of the coronavirus, but the new rules apply countrywide.

To help curb the spread of the coronavirus, Mazibuko targeted alcohol-selling spots and said the distribution and sale of alcohol on weekdays would from now on be curtailed.

“Police just deal with enforcement and people must comply with their licences. 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 6pm.

“No more sleeping at the tavern anymore. On weekends, bottle stores will adhere to their normal working times of 1pm 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.”

Read next: Permission to marry or bury, public facilities closed: Big Covid-19 changes in Gauteng

(Background reporting, Vhahangwele Nemakonde)

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