Ministers clarify enforcement of COVID-19 regulations in relation to gatherings and selling of liquor

by | Mar 21, 2020 | Covid-19

PRETORIA – The Ministries of Police and Tourism have, over the first weekend after the gazetting of the COVID-19 Disaster Management Regulations, identified and acknowledged the urgent need to simplify the interpretation and implementation of the Regulations.

On Saturday morning, 21 March 2020, Police Minister, General Bheki Cele, the Minister of Tourism Ms Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, and Gauteng MEC for Community Safety, Ms Faith Mazibuko met with the National and Gauteng management of the SAPS, Senior Management of Tourism, and Gauteng Chiefs of Metro Police Departments.

In response to queries and the need for clarification from various industries and stakeholders, the engagement led by the two Ministers simplified the interpretation and implementation of the Regulations as follows:

GATHERING (as defined in the COVID-19 Regulations)

No more than one hundred (100) people shall be allowed to gather at any point in time. Failure to adhere to this restriction can see police do the following:
order the immediate dispersal of the gathering;
take appropriate action against the organiser/host/manager which may result in a fine, an arrest or both.


The public is advised that the sale of liquor is only permitted between 09h00 and 18h00 on weekdays and Saturdays. On Sundays and Public Holidays, the hours are 09h00 to 13h00.

It must be noted that with this Saturday being a public holiday (Human Rights Day), the sale of liquor must have stopped at 13h00.

Restaurants, hotels and grocery stores with licences to sell liquor, must then stop selling liquor as per the time restrictions, but may operate beyond those hours to sell and/or serve food with absolutely no liquor. The condition with staying open after the 18h00 and 13h00 deadline, is that the people on the premises must be 50 or less, including the staff.

Meanwhile on-consumption establishments selling liquor only such as taverns may not continue doing business after the hours indicated above.

In the instance that these restrictions are contravened, members of the SAPS and otherwise enforcement agencies will address the owner or manager of such premises by charging him with a criminal offence in terms of the Regulations.

The Ministers have also cautioned the public to note that drinking in public is a criminal offence. Police have been instructed to take decisive action against this practice, including activities such as “street bashes.

Both Minister Cele and Minister Kubayi-Ngubane have appealed to the public for maximum commitment and cooperation in adhering to the Regulations in the best interest of both themselves and the country at large.

For media enquiries:

Brigadier Mathapelo Peters
Acting Spokesperson for the Ministry of Police
076 065 6502

Hlengiwe Nhlabathi
Spokesperson for the Ministry of Tourism
064 754 8426

Issued by: South African Police Service
More from: South African Police Service
More on: Disaster management

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