South Africa will go into lockdown level 3 with immediate effect from midnight, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Monday.
He said this would be done to curb the further spread of the coronavirus that is wreaking havoc in the country.
Under adjusted lockdown level 3, all indoor and outdoor gatherings will be immediately prohibited.
Only funerals will be allowed, but they can only be attended by not more than 50 people.
Curfew will be extended from 9pm to 6am, while all beaches will be closed effective from Tuesday.
Ramaphosa said, in an emotional speech in which he implored people to change their behaviour, that excessive alcohol consumption was putting pressure on the health care system due to stabbings, gunshot wounds and accidents.
Trauma units are filling up while the lives of health care workers are being endangered.
“The sale of alcohol will not be permitted. The prohibition on consuming alcohol in public spaces remains. Distribution and transportation will be prohibited,” Ramaphosa said.
He also said, “now it is compulsory for every person to wear a mask in a public place and that anyone not wearing a mask will be committing an offence and could be convicted. On conviction, you will be liable to a fine or imprisonment.
“I must admit this is a drastic measure but necessary to ensure compliance,” Ramaphosa said.
Businesses will have to close at 8pm.
He said the cabinet took the decision to strengthen restrictions because people were not following the measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus.
Ramaphosa said people were not wearing masks in public spaces, including restaurants.