It’s been a month since President Cyril Ramaphosa initially set the country on adjusted lockdown level 4 for 14 days. Since then, those that have been largely effected by the decision include the restaurant and alcohol industries.
Restaurants were granted some leeway following the first two weeks of adjusted level 4, being allowed to operate at 50 percent capacity (whereas prior, they could only offer takeaways).
The question we’ve all been waiting to know the answer to: will alcohol be available for sale, and onsite and offsite consumption?
Question answered: alcohol is now available for purchase, and onsite and offsite consumption.
Here’s a summary of tonight’s address, along with what is and is not prohibited under adjusted lockdown level 3:
- The country has been fighting a battle on two fronts: COVID-19 and the actions of those who have sought to create chaos and instability in our country.
- Ramaphosa says we have used all of our resources in KwaZulu-Natal and Gauteng to ensure peace and calm regarding the unrest and looting.
- We need to provide relief and support to households, he says. We need to help businesses to rebuild, and rebuild our economy.
- COVID-19 is the greatest force against our people and our economy. The latest figures indicate that we have largely passed the peak of the third wave.
- The last 28 days has proved to be effective in decreasing COVID-19 infection rates. The daily average of new infections over the last week was around 12 000 per day (indicating a 20% drop from the previous week).
- There is a discrepancy between provinces and infection rates. Infections are largely driven by the highly infectious Delta variant. Gatherings are the biggest source of spreading, says Ramaphosa.
- Decreasing COVID-19 figures means that some restrictions can be eased in relation to gatherings, movement and the sale of alcohol.
The country is now on adjusted level 3. Here’s what is and is not permitted.
- Curfew: 10pm to 4am.
- Interprovincial travel for leisure is now allowed.
- Non-essential establishments (like restaurants, bars, and gyms) may now open. However, they have to close at 9pm.
- Gatherings are allowed but are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.
- Where the venue is too small to adhere to this, 50% of the venue may be utilised. This applies to gyms, restaurants etc.
- Funeral and cremation ceremonies may not exceed 50 people. After-tears gatherings are not allowed.
- The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for offsite consumption will be permitted between 10am and 6pm, Monday to Thursday.
- Alcohol sale for onsite consumption is allowed as per licensing conditions up to 8pm.
- Schools will open tomorrow, Monday July 26.
- The vaccination rollout has made huge strides and progress. We are currently administering more than 240 000 vaccines every week day, says the President.
- We have administered more than 6.3 million vaccines in total, he adds.
- Over 10% of our population has received a vaccine dose.
- Those aged between 18-34 can get vaccinated from September 1.
- We are expecting 31 million doses of vaccines from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in coming months, says Ramaphosa.
- Aspen will be producing vaccines solely for the African continent from October.
Unrest, looting and violent protesting.
- Over 300 lives have been lost as a result of this violence.
- We are still counting the cost of this violence to infrastructure, businesses, and livelihoods, says the President.
- Ramaphosa acknowledges business owners and citizens who have lost their jobs and says we have a duty to support these people.
- Ramaphosa gas increased the deployment of SANDF soldiers and SAPS presence. We have maintained this deployment in hot spots and key areas, he added.
- We have been able to restore order. Investigations into the violence and those behind it are continuing. These are led by our specialised law enforcement units.
- “I want to make it clear that law and order will be maintained. There will be further arrests particularly of those who executed and masterminded the violence.”
Support, relief and the future.
- Ramaphosa announced a range of measures to provide relief to the economy and to the poor and the vulnerable.
- We are reintroducing the R350 relief grant, says the President. Also expanding is the number of people who are eligible by allowing unemployed caregivers to apply.
- Ramaphosa is implementing measures to help businesses to rebuild. SASRIA (state owned insurance company) expediting payments. The government will ensure SASRIA can honour obligations.
- Businesses who weren’t insured will not be abandoned. Government will set aside dedicated funds for this purpose and will soon announce a mechanism for them to apply for a support.
- Applications for TERS are now open and the UIF will facilitate payments to support workers who have not received incomes.
- The employment tax incentive is to be expanded for four months to include those earning below R6,500.
- PAYE deferral for three months. There will be an automatic 35% liability deferral for employers with revenue below R100 million.
- Also a deferral of excise tax for the alcohol sector for the next three months.
- The effect of recent violence on investor confidence is a great threat to the recovery of our economy. We are taking steps to ensure we respond more quickly and decisively of threats of extortion as businesses rebuild.
- Ramaphosa acknowledged that the country’s response was too slow, however security forces have demonstrated they have been able to restore order, he says. We have also demonstrated our commitment to our constitutional democracy and will stand up to anyone who threatens it.
- As always – wear a mask, social distance, sanitise and be safe.
- Our strength lies in our people, when we stand together to defend our democracy.