COVID-19 alcohol restrictions: “Police spotters to be appointed”

by | Mar 20, 2020 | Covid-19

Police Minister Bheki Cele on Friday, 20 March 2020 warned that anyone who disregards the recently released COVID-19 state of disaster regulations would be arrested and face the full might of the law.

With regard to establishments serving or selling alcoholic products, the South African Government News Agency reported the following:

Police presence at establishments

When coming to the enforcement of the regulations, police were in the process of appointing spotters who will be keeping an eye on the 19 971 taverns, 11 000 bottle stores, 9 747 restaurants and 2 518 night clubs across the country.

“As from today, police are appointing spotters, they’ll be in these places, especially the areas that sell food and alcohol. At 6pm, [the] selling and consumption of alcohol shuts down, but in places where there’s the sale of food, [such as] restaurants and food selling taverns, that continues.

“If you buy your bottle at 5:55pm, you can’t finish it where you are having your food. You will have to take it home,” he said.

Should these establishments be found to have over 50 patrons at a time, police will not be shy to disperse the excess patrons.

Cele said should there be over 50 patrons, the owners and event organisers will be arrested.
Even though this was not in the gazetted regulations, Cele said police were calling on establishments to have a register of customers visiting them. This would aid in tracing individuals should the need arise.

Such a mechanism will help authorities should a patron later test positive for the Coronavirus.
He reiterated that police will not be granting special permits for events to have a gathering of more than 100 people at a time.

“So there’s no need for you to go to any police station to ask for permission from police. You will keep to 100, whether it’s weddings, a funeral or any other [gathering]. There shall be no street bashes [nor] public drinking which is nonetheless illegal,” he said.

The Minister emphasised that the aim of implementing the law and was not to punish the public but a measure to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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The wine industry, along with other liquor representatives, will discuss the practical implications of the regulations and request clarity on certain aspects in the media briefing that might not be aligned with the stipulations in the Disaster Management Act Regulation 8. The latest developments will be communicated on this platform following these discussions.



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