Woolworths, along with other food retailers such as Pick n Pay and Checkers, will no longer be allowed to sell hot foods such as rotisserie chickens, pies and bread baked in-store at their locations.

During a Covid-19 National Command Council briefing on Thursday, April 16, Minister of Trade and Industry Ebrahim Patel explained that retailers were not meant to have been selling hot foods throughout the lockdown at all.

“When takeaways and restaurants were closed (at the start of the lockdown), we also communicated to the supermarkets that their hot food sections need to be closed,” said Patel. “As the law stands, it needs to be observed, it is very clear what the position is, they are not allowed to sell cooked foods,” said Patel.

As a result, Woolworths today [April 17] announced that they will close their hot food counters.

“While this has not yet been formally promulgated in the regulations and we are seeking clarity on the way forward, we have taken a decision to close all hot food counters with immediate effect to adhere to the communication by both the Minister for Economic Affairs and the Minister of Trade, Industry and Competition,” a Woolworths spokesperson said to Business Insider.

Business Insider also reports that a spokesperson for the Shoprite Group confirmed they would follow suit.

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