Lockdown changes: Here’s what the new laws say about alcohol sales

There was some good news for the drinkers of South Africa on Wednesday evening, as Cyril Ramaphosa confirmed that alcohol sales could return to normal trading hours from today. Level 1 of lockdown has, technically, eased restrictions – but citizens have been warned to act responsibly ahead of a busy festive period.

Alcohol sales at Level 1

International travel has also been bosted, as the tourism industry launches its fightback against crippling lockdown protocols. The so-called ‘banned travel list’ has been dropped completely, meaning that visitors from anywhere in the world can now come to South Africa – if they come with a negative COVID-19 test taken 72 hours before travelling.

Lockdown laws: What has actually changed?

The changes to current lockdown regulations were brief – but they could make a world of difference to a battered economy. The liquor industry is now effectively back to full-strength, barring some minor exclusions.

You’ll be able to go back to buying liquor from the bottle store over the weekend, and on Fridays. These establishments can also open up during public holidays. However, selling booze outside of these permitted hours – and beyond the 22:00 curfew – can land an offender with a hefty fine or a short prison sentence. The new alcohol laws state:

Regulation 77 is hereby substituted by the following regulations:

  • 1a) The sale of liquor by licensed premises for off-site consumption, is permitted during licensed trading hours.
  • 1b) Alcohol sales – by licensed premises for on-site consumption – is permitted, subject to strict adherence to the curfew.
  • 2) The sale of liquor in contravention of sub-regulation 1b is an offence. Those who do not comply are liable to a fine or imprisonment – for a period not exceeding six months.
  • Commencement) This amendment to the Regulations comes into operation at 00:01 on 12 November 2020.

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