When putting the country back into a tougher phase of lockdown, Cyril Ramaphosa is never going to please everyone. However, when you’re decisions are being picked apart by the SA Medical Association, alarm bells start ringing. The president has been chastised for the Level 3 guidance on alcohol restrictions.
Alcohol restrictions at Level 3 of lockdown
Some feared a complete booze ban was imminent during the family meeting on Tuesday. However, this never came to fruition. Instead, Ramaphosa wheeled out a set of regulations that significantly limits our access to liquor:
– Off-site premises – like bottle stores and supermarkets – can only sell alcohol from Monday to Thursday.– They will only be able to put booze on sale from 10:00 – 18:00 on these four days.– Alcohol cannot be sold by stores over the weekend, or on public holidays.– However, bars and restaurants can sell liquor everyday until 21:00– Wine farms, breweries, and distilleries can also sell their produce for people to take home.
Liquor limits labelled ‘senseless’ by SAMA
However, what seemed ‘reasonable’ to President Ramaphosa and his colleagues does not check out with SAMA chairperson Dr. Angelique Coetzee. She went public with her disdain on Thursday, saying that the updated alcohol restrictions for Level 3 simply ‘do not make any sense’, and it fails to encourage people to ‘stay at home’.
“We noticed that we are moving to Level 3 lockdown. We think it is a step in the right direction, but it doesn’t make sense for us to close a place that sells alcohol on Fridays and Saturdays. You can’t drink at home but you are allowed to drink at pubs until 21:00. For us, none of these alcohol restrictions make sense, we need people at home.”
“We don’t want people in a shopping centre or anywhere else, if we can manage to do that for three to four weeks we can get the numbers down but for now, I don’t see that happening. Again keeping the schools open when most teachers are sick, especially in Gauteng, is not helping. We should have prepared better.”