The Daily Telegraph
South Africa to lift ban on sale of alcohol and cigarettes
SOUTH Africa will lift its coronavirus linked ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products today, Cyril Ramaphosa, the president, said as he announced the removal of “nearly all restrictions” on economic activities.
The virus-related ban on the purchase of alcohol and cigarettes has been controversial, and no other country has introduced both measures together.
It came into effect when South Africa went into a strict nationwide lockdown on March 27 to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Alcohol sales were prohibited to ease pressure on hospitals, allowing doctors in emergency wards to focus on Covid-19 rather than road accidents and other alcohol-related injuries.
Tobacco products were restricted because of the health impacts of smoking as well as the risk of contamination between people sharing cigarettes.
While tobacco sales have been forbidden since the start of lockdown, alcohol purchases were tentatively reauthorised in June and banned again when cases spiked the following month.
“Restrictions on the sale of tobacco will be lifted, the suspension of the sale of alcohol will be lifted subject to certain restrictions,” Mr Ramaphosa said as he addressed the nation, adding that significant progress had been made against the disease.
The president also announced the sweeping removal of “nearly all restrictions” on economic activity and the resumption of interprovincial leisure travel.
Bars will be allowed to reopen, and both family gatherings and social visits will be authorised. But a 10pm curfew remains in place.