Government lifts alcohol sales ban

The sale of alcohol has been lifted, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday following consultations with the National Coronavirus Command Council. Ramaphosa said the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption would be allowed from Monday to Thursday between 10:00 and 18:00. On-site sales would be allowed from Monday as per licence conditions until 20:00.

Restaurants, shebeens and bars can sell alcohol up to 20:00. These outlets may only remain open until 21:00, with the general curfew remaining between 22:00 and 04:00. South Africa has seen four alcohol bans since March 2020, lasting more than 160 days in total. The fourth one had been in place since 28 June.

“The payment of excise taxes by the alcohol sector will be deferred for a period of three months, to ease the burden on the sector as it recovers,” Ramaphosa said. He stated that these interventions were designed to “extend as much relief as possible to individuals and businesses that are in need of support, without compromising our fiscal sustainability”.

According to the Beer Association of South Africa – which represents the Craft Brewers Association, Heineken South Africa and South African Breweries (SAB) – it has put almost 250 000 jobs at risk and cost the country’s economy an estimated R64.8 billion. This week, a legal bid by SAB against government’s latest alcohol sales ban was dismissed with costs by the Western Cape High Court.

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