South Africa Moves to Lockdown Level 3
Last night, 25 July 2021, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa will be placed under Covid-19 Lockdown Adjusted Alert Level 3 effective immediately. This means restaurants, taverns and bars can remain open for an hour longer, and alcohol sales can resume.
“These establishments will however need to close by 9pm to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew,” President Ramaphosa said in his address. “Gatherings will be allowed but will be limited to a maximum of 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Where the venue is too small to accommodate these numbers with appropriate social distancing, then no more than 50% of the capacity of the venue may be used.”
These gatherings include religious services, political events and social gatherings, and the limits on venue capacity also apply to restaurants, gyms, fitness centres, bars, taverns and similar places.
Alcohol Sales Can Resume
Under Level 3, the sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday. Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 8pm, Ramaphosa said.
“It remains mandatory for every person to wear a face mask that always covers their nose and mouth at all times when in public spaces,” he added. “The owners and managers of public buildings, centres, shops, restaurants, taxis and buses all have a responsibility to ensure that people on their premises or in their vehicles wear masks. They must also ensure that the appropriate social distancing measures are in place and are adhered to. It is important to remember that it is a criminal offence if the number of people on these premises exceeds the maximum number of customers or employees allowed.”
Additional Assistance and Light at the End of the Tunnel
Additional financial relief measures have also been announced to support the most vulnerable. For a four-month period, the Employment Tax Incentive will be expanded to encompass any employee earning less than R6 500, and the incentive amount will be increased by up to R750 per month. Employers, particularly those in the retail and hospitality sectors, will be encouraged to hire and keep staff as a result of this.
This is good news for the hospitality industry because these past 14 days of lockdown have severely impacted businesses. According to Western Cape Premier Alan Winde, the alcohol industry in this region alone has suffered potential losses of R1 billion in sales and 2 798 employment. The embargo, which has now been in effect for a month, has the potential to cost R2 billion in sales and 5 596 jobs.