As Covid-19 cases across the country continue to decline, rumours of a potential ban on the sale and consumption of alcohol have heightened with President Cyril Ramaphosa set to address the nation on Tuesday evening.
Ramaphosa is now set to address the country tonight at 7.30pm on developments in relation to the country’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. The time of the address was changed from 7pm.
This follows meetings in recent days of the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), the President’s Coordinating Council (PCC) and Cabinet.
The address, which was originally set for 7pm, was moved to allow viewers to watch veteran SABC newsreader Noxolo Grootboom’s final bulletin as she retires after 37 years.
Government was reportedly advised by the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to move the country to Alert Level 2 lockdown to help minimise the risk of a third wave of Covid-19 infections after the Easter break.
Meanwhile, the alcohol industry is waiting to see if liquor sales will be banned again, with government expected to halt all sales for 11 days, according to the South African Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba).
“The NCCC further intends to increase the number of people allowed in a gathering from the current limitation of 100 for indoors and 250 for outdoors for the same period,” Salba said in a statement.
This is after a number of religious leaders asked government to ease some lockdown restrictions on the size of congregations allowed at places of worship, ahead of the Easter and Ramadan observances.
On Monday, Ramaphosa noted that faith-based organisations had been vital to the country’s national response to the Covid-19 pandemic, “not only providing spiritual comfort and guidance but also by caring for those most vulnerable to the effects of the pandemic, including through the provision of food, shelter and other social services”.
He encouraged faith-based communities to innovate in the holding of congregational worship over the upcoming Easter, Passover and Ramadan observances as they did last year.
Earlier this month, Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma extended the national State of Disaster until 15 April.