Will an alcohol ban be implemented over the festive season?

Whether an alcohol ban or a stricter lockdown level will be implemented over the festive season has been on the minds of many but today, we’re on a mission to set the record straight. 

There has been an image, which appears to be an official government statement making the rounds on social media. The image states, amongst other things, that President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the banning of alcohol sales. 

IS AN ALCOHOL BAN LOOMING?

Well, we do know that the image making the rounds on social media has been declared fake news. 

The image states that there will be an alcohol ban from 15 December to 3 January. It further states that one will be implemented “due to the festive season, rising infections and South Africans not adhering to regulations”. 

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The Presidency has since confirmed the image to be fake news. 

The question remains, however, will there be an alcohol ban over the festive season? If there’s one thing we’ve learnt it’s that the Cabinet and the NCCC make the final decision while Ramaphosa delivers the outcome of deliberations. 

We also know that harsher restrictions eventually have to be implemented should infections spiral out of control. At the moment, the Eastern Cape is battling a sharp rise in COVID-19 infections, the same in the Garden Route in the Western Cape. Now, while a harsher lockdown level has not yet been confirmed or set in stone, it is a very real possibility given the current statistics. 

TROUBLESOME WATERS’ IN THE EASTERN CAPE 

Apart from a possible alcohol ban, just last week Health Minister Zweli Mkhize expressed concern over the number of infections in the Eastern Cape. 

He said the country breached 3 000 infections in 24 hours and said that more than half of those infections emanated from the province. When The South African contacted the National Department of Health on Monday, the spokesperson Popo Maja, said he could not confirm whether a move to Level 3 lockdown was on the cards or not. He said it would only be announced by the president. 

Also last week, Gauteng Premier David Makhura said the province could face a resurgence in January or February next year following the festive season. 

Makhura said the number of new weekly COVID-19 cases are significantly lower than numbers at the peak of the first surge. He also said experts are predicting low case numbers due to an anticipated decrease in mobility in the province in the last few weeks of December, however, this is not entirely a good thing. 

“The bad news is that due to the expected mobility increase in January when people return from holiday, we are likely to experience an increase in cases,” he said.

Makhura said although the increase in infections is currently moderate, he is concerned that Gauteng will face a possible resurgence or second wave in January or February when people return to the province. 

“This will have an impact on the plans we have for 2021,” he said. 

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