- Alcohol and tobacco remain banned only under Level 3 of the lockdown – for now.
- This comes after a tweet inferred that alcohol and tobacco would be banned for an indefinite period.
- The sale of alcohol was suspended after overwhelming evidence showed that alcohol consumption was burdening trauma units across the country.
The government says there has been no change to Level 3 regulations with regard to the ban on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products.
This comes after a tweet sparked confusion over when the bans would be lifted.
Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Mlungisi Mtshali told News24 on Wednesday the regulations remained unchanged.
“This [alcohol and tobacco] ban applies for Level 3 for now. I don’t want to comment on the tweet, but for now the ban is in place and the regulations in place apply under Level 3 of the lockdown,” he explained.
The government subsequently tweeted that the information contained in the initial tweet was incorrect and would be removed.
The initial tweet stated that “the ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarette will remain in place throughout lockdown period. The purpose is to save lives and protect the health and well-being of our people #Alcoholban”.
The tweet caused confusion as it was understood to infer that tobacco and alcohol would remain banned for an indefinite period, until the risk-adjusted strategy of five levels of lockdown came to an end.
1/2: This account posted a tweet earlier today which said that the ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes would remain in place throughout the lockdown period. This is incorrect. The sale of alcohol and tobacco products is prohibited under the current Level 3 regulations.
— South African Government (@GovernmentZA) July 22, 2020
The government imposed the tobacco ban at the beginning of lockdown in March as it sought to manage the spread of Covid-19.
While alcohol was permitted during the Level 3 of lockdown – which commenced on 1 June – the decision was quickly rescinded after overwhelming evidence showed that alcohol was burdening trauma wards in various health facilities across the country.