President Cyril Ramaphosa.
Government has reinstated alert level 3 lockdown restrictions, which means alcohol sales will be restricted.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Tuesday that alcohol sales for offsite consumption will be restricted from 10:00 to 18:00, from Monday to Thursday, excluding public holidays.
Alcohol sales for onsite consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 21:00, and consumption in public spaces are prohibited.
The curfew has also been adjusted from 22:00 to 04:00. This means non-essential establishments such as restaurants, bars and fitness centres will have to close at 21:00 to allow patrons and customers to travel home before the curfew, Ramaphosa said.
Gatherings are also limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
South Africa is currently facing a steep third wave, with Gauteng worst affected. Ramaphosa said that over the last seven days, an average of 7 500 daily infections were recorded.
Hospital admissions over the past 14 days were almost 60% higher than in the previous two weeks. The number of new cases will soon surpass the peak of the second wave, Ramaphosa added.
South Africa has seen three alcohol sales bans since the country went into its first lockdown in March last year.
The first ban was lifted in June, but a second followed in July amid South Africa’s first Covid-19 wave.
When the second wave hit – fuelled by a more contagious variant – a third ban was imposed at the end of December last year.
In response, large alcohol groups have scrapped investments. SAB cancelled capital investments worth R5 billion last year, but recently said it would now invest R2 billion. Fellow beer maker Heineken cancelled R6 billion in investments – but confirmed recently that it is now in talks about a possible takeover of Distell.