No specific regulations on sale of tobacco products, says Dlamini-Zuma

Ministers serving on the National Coronavirus Command Council are briefing the media on the lockdown Level 2 regulations.

Cooperative Governance Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma at a briefing on the coronavirus in Pretoria on 19 March 2020. Picture: @PresidencyZA/Twitter

JOHANNESBURG - Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma on Monday said that there were no specific regulations on the resumption of the sale of tobacco products, unlike with alcohol sales.

The minister, along with ministers serving on the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC), briefed the media on the lockdown level 2 regulations.

Dlamini-Zuma urged South Africans to act responsibly when they consumed alcohol and smokers not to share cigarettes. The sale of cigarettes and tobacco products will be permitted under level 2 lockdown from midnight on Monday.

Dlamini-Zuma said that the sale of liquor at licensed premises was permitted from 9am to 5pm from Mondays to Thursdays, excluding Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays.

She said that this was done to protect the country’s health system from being overwhelmed with trauma cases related to alcohol abuse.

“With alcohol, people drink and drive, some people even fight. We have seen literally how during the lockdown, car accidents, trauma patients, [and] trauma units were empty when alcohol was not allowed,” Dlamini-Zuma said.

“And we also saw when alcohol sales were allowed how it went up. So, to then just open completely we stand a chance of the surge coming back and overwhelming the health service,” she added.

Earlier, Dlamini-Zuma said that with the expected relaxation of lockdown regulations under level 2, South Africans needed to remain vigilant because the COVID-19 pandemic had not been defeated yet.

Dlamini-Zuma said that with the many restrictions on social and economic activity expected to be lifted from midnight on Monday, there was also an increased risk of transmission of the virus.

The minister urged South Africans to continue with health protocols of washing hands, sanitising, wearing masks, and social distancing.

She said that restaurants, bars, and taverns were permitted to operate with no more than 50 people permitted at a time, including at funerals and religious events.

Weddings are also permitted under strict health protocols, Dlamini-Zuma said. However, the limit on 50 people would also apply.

Social events at places of residence are also permitted including visits to friends and family so long as there are no more than 10 visitors at a time.

Dlamini-Zuma said that night clubs would remain closed under level 2 of the national lockdown due to the increased risk of infection.

The curfew will remain in place between the hours of 10pm and 4am, except where a person has been granted a permit.

WATCH: NCCC ministers brief media on lockdown level regulations