Government Tweet claims alcohol, cigarettes ‘banned for rest of lockdown’

From The South African

It’s either the most casual announcement of a major policy shift, or something’s gone wrong. Alcohol and cigarettes may now be banned ‘throughout lockdown’.

Picture: 123rf.com/marcbruxelle

For those reading on in horror, it will seem like a nightmare. But a recent post from the government’s official Twitter account has turned heads across South Africa after it claimed that both alcohol and cigarettes would stay banned ‘throughout the lockdown period’ – essentially extending prohibition indefinitely.

HOW LONG WILL ALCOHOL AND CIGARETTES BE BANNED FOR?

The public and social media users are baffled. As a serious policy shift, at the very least, this would require some form of presidential address. It is unclear if the Tweet was lost in translation, and for our drinkers and smokers this is their best hope and only hope going forward.

But, if the tweet is real and the government sticks to its guns, the future looks bleak for two major industries. Lockdown could last well into 2021, and South Africa is yet to experience its coronavirus peak. The Tweet was sent out just after 11am, sending many followers into a state of panic.

“The ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarette will remain in place throughout the lockdown period. The purpose is to save lives and protect the health and well-being of our people.

Understandably, the chairperson for the Fair-Trade Independent Tobacco Association – Sinenhlanhla Mnguni – has vented his fury at the communication. He’s been left flabbergasted, and wants to know why such a “sudden change” has been announced so innocuously – assuming, of course, it is accurate.

“Just the other week Cyril Ramaphosa said it was only a matter of time before the cigarette ban was lifted. So what led to this sudden change in position, if this communication below is accurate that the ban will remain in effect throughout the lockdown period?” explained Mnguni.

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