South Africa removes all restrictions on alcohol sales

04 January, 2022

Ahead of New Years Eve celebrations, South Africa ended restrictions on the sale of alcohol that have been in place since 27 March 2020.

The easing of restrictions has allowed establishments to sell alcohol beyond 11pm and marks the first time in almost two years that alcohol sales won’t be restricted by any Covid-19 related measures. In that time, the country experienced four total bans on the domestic sale of alcohol with rumours of a fifth as recent as three weeks ago.

The government has also lifted the midnight to 4am curfew and allowed for indoor gatherings of up to 1000 people.

South Africa has been the African country worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic and is where the Omicron variant was first detected in November, but Minister in the presidency, Mondli Gungubele, said that the restrictions have been eased as the Omicron wave had passed its peak without a significant increase in deaths.

“Clinical manifestation has not caused any alarm in hospitals, so conditions allow that we lift the curfew," he said.

“The economy is struggling and we wish to use every opportunity to open up the economy.”

Speaking to public broadcaster SABC, National Liquor Traders Council spokesperson, Lucky Ntimane has welcomed the announcement but warned the public to remain careful.

"It is also is good for our recovery efforts as the alcohol industry has suffered almost five alcohol bans which amount to about 26 weeks of non-trading,” said Ntimane.

“So the announcement last night is welcomed relief, but people need to understand that this is also not a licence for non-compliance. It does not mean that Covid-19 is gone or disappeared."

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