Ramaphosa clamps down on gatherings and alcohol sales as he tightens curfew

President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Image: GCIS

President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday tightened up national Covid-19 restrictions, including on alcohol sales and large gatherings.

The restrictions kick in from midnight, he said.

Of particular concern, he said, were large gatherings, which had the potential to become “super-spreader events”.

“The current restrictions on the size of gatherings do not do enough to prevent crowding. Therefore, gatherings, including religious gatherings, may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 people for outdoor events,” said Ramaphosa.

After tears events have also been banned.

The president said that alcohol sale and consumption would also be restricted.

“The sale of alcohol from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm, from Monday to Thursday. Alcohol consumption in public spaces, such as beaches and parks, is strictly prohibited. We will not allow large numbers of people congregating in any one place without proper controls or proper protocols being in place,” he said.

Ramaphosa also announced strict rules around the use of public parks and beaches.

He said that in areas with “higher rates of infections”, beaches and public parks will be closed for the duration of the festive season.

“This will apply specifically to all of the Eastern Cape and the Garden Route district of the Western Cape. In KwaZulu-Natal, beaches and public parks will be closed on what are the busiest days of the season – on December 16, 25, 26, 31, and on January 1 to 3,” he said.

On top of this, the nationwide curfew was extended, starting from 11pm and ending at 4am.

“This means that non-essential establishments, including restaurants and bars, will have to close at 10pm so that staff and patrons can go home before the enforcement of the curfew. The curfew is meant to prevent gatherings that go on late into the night, while enabling rest bar and taverns to continue to operate,” he said.

This is a developing story.

by Matthew Savides