Ramaphosa announces no alcohol sales from Friday to Sunday, curfew extended

President Cyril Ramaphosa updated the country on the current status of the coronavirus pandemic in the country.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa addresses the nation on lockdown restrictions. Picture: GCIS.

JOHANNESBURG – President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday announced that the sale of alcohol from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.

Ramaphosa said that registered wineries and wine farms could continue to offer tastings and wine sales to the public for off-site consumption over weekends.

He also announced that the national curfew has been extended from 11pm to 4am.

The president said that non-essential establishments, including restaurants and bars, will have to close at 10pm so that staff and patrons could get home before the enforcement of the curfew.

“The curfew is meant to prevent gatherings that go on late into the night while enabling restaurants, bars, and taverns to continue to operate and earn an income,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the curfew would also apply on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.

“We should all remember that the hours of curfew also apply to Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve. This means that we will all need to make changes to the way in which we celebrate these occasions.”

Ramaphosa also announced that all beaches in the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route in the Western Cape would be closed from 16 December to 3 January.

All beaches in KwaZulu-Natal will be closed on 16, 25, 26 and 31 December as well as on 1, 2 and 3 January.

All other beaches in the Western Cape and the Northern Cape remain open, the president said.

The president said that festivals, live music, and live performances at beaches will be prohibited.

He said in instances where there are large crowds or poor compliance with safety measures, specific beaches, and recreational parks will be closed.

“We have undertaken extensive consultations on this issue so that we can find an approach that reduces the risk of large-scale transmission while limiting the negative impact on businesses in coastal areas,” he said.

The president also announced a tightening up on the number of people at public gatherings, which include religious gatherings. No more than 100 people are now allowed at indoor events and no more than 250 people at outdoor events.

Ramaphosa added that all post-funerals gatherings were prohibited.

Ramaphosa said the Garden Route district, in the Western Cape, and the Sarah Baartman district, in the Eastern Cape, have now also been declared coronavirus hotspot areas, with restrictions to be implemented from midnight tonight.

The districts join the Nelson Mandela Bay metro which was declared a hotspot earlier this month.

Further restrictions announced by the president included all passengers in vehicles being required to wear masks, restaurant managers ensuring that all patrons wear masks, and employers ensuring all employees wear their masks.

The president said the Eastern Cape, Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, and Gauteng were leading the second wave of COVID-19 infections in the country.

In his address to the nation, Ramaphosa said most of the new infections were among young people, particularly those in the age group of 15 to 19 years.

He said the daily average of COVID-19 deaths had increased by nearly 50% over the last seven days from just over 100 deaths a day to just over 150 deaths.

The president said that gatherings, especially social gatherings and parties, were the largest source of outbreaks.

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