Alcohol is back: President Cyril Ramaphosa has confirmed that the alcohol ban has been lifted for the second time since the lockdown in South Africa began, and we are now officially moving towards Level 2 regulation. But, as expected, there are some important caveats to be aware of.
Alcohol ban lifted – When can I buy alcohol during level 2?
From Monday August 17, the changes will come into effect. Following our first 70-day blackout, alcohol was relisted on June 1. However, the government was quickly spooked by an increase in trauma admissions to hospitals that were already struggling to cope with the surge in COVID-19 cases.
Alcohol sales, coupled with looser lockdown restrictions, quickly became the target of Cabinet officials – and a second alcohol ban was introduced in early July.
Put alcohol back on the shelves
Almost six weeks after that fateful “family reunion” with the president, Ramaphosa decided to give us all a Saturday night show. And he brought good news with him: The alcohol ban has been lifted, and that means everything – from spirits and wines, to craft beers and lagers – will soon be returning to the shelves.
Huge pressure had been placed on Ramaphosa and his Cabinet colleagues, as industry professionals pleaded with the president to ease restrictions on alcohol. It is believed that over a million jobs have been threatened by the two blackout periods – but all systems are now for our beer distributors.
The alcohol ban ends – but what are the rules for buying alcohol at level 2?
However, it will not be an alcoholic drink for everyone. In court documents filed earlier this week, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma argued that the alcohol ban could be “reinstated” if the infection rate rises again. On Saturday night, Cyril also laid down the law and revealed that alcohol sales would only be allowed under the following conditions:
- Alcohol should only be sold in liquor stores, bars, taverns or restaurants. Yes, the pubs are reopening.
- Consumption on site is only permitted until 22:00.
- Liquor stores can only operate from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
- There will be a four day window to purchase alcohol, Monday through Thursday each week.
- The changes are effective from Monday August 17th.
The lifting of the alcohol ban follows a series of other changes, as South Africa moves to Level 2 lockdown. We’ll bring you all the latest developments as they happen on Saturday, and for Mzansi drinkers, they already have good reason to celebrate… responsibly and hygienically, of course.