The government yesterday ordered all clubs, restaurants and taverns to either close down with immediate effect or scale down their patrons to less than 50 people at any given time.
It also introduced strict regulations that would see people who intentionally infect others with Covid-19 pandemic prosecuted for assault, attempted murder or even murder.
The regulations gazetted late yesterday by cooperative governance minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma under the state of national disaster.
The regulations, which are effective immediately, have detailed when will people be committing offences or liable for a penalty under the state of national disaster.
The declaration was made in a bid to curb the growing coronavirus pandemic, which to date has affected more than 116 South Africans.
Earlier yesterday, the City of Johannesburg called on restaurants and bars to cease operations immediately as local provincial authorities rushed to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
According to the regulations all on-consumption premises selling liquor, including taverns, restaurants and clubs, must be closed with immediate effect, or must accommodate no more than 50 persons at any time, provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with Covid-19, are adhered to.
The regulations require that all premises selling liquor which provide accommodation must also implement the measures to stop the spread of Covid-19.
The regulations also dictate that all on-consumption premises selling liquor must be closed between 6pm and 9am from Monday to Saturday, while on Sunday and public holidays they should close at 1pm.
While there are no legal requirements at this stage to call for the closure of public entertainment areas in SA, the call is among measures proposed by the city.
The call comes hours after President Cyril Ramaphosa in a media briefing following a meeting with all political parties represented in parliament urged a limitation of alcohol consumption and said an announcement would be made soon about taverns and nightclubs.
If anyone disregards government’s instructions to prevent gatherings of more than 100 people or more than 50 people where alcohol is served may face a fine, jail time or both.
Government is taking unprecedented measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 which has been declared a global pandemic.
Under the state of national disaster, which lasts for three months or longer if needed, many rights have been suspended and the state is fully at the centre of combating the spread of the pandemic.
Yesterday, the health department announced that confirmed cases had reached 116 with eight new cases of local transmission.
On people who intentionally infection others, the regulations said the person may be prosecuted for an offence, including assault, attempted murder or murder. A person may be imprisoned for up to six months and face a fine if they misrepresent that they infected with Covid-19 and will be guilty of an offence.
Government is further cracking the whip against anyone who lies that they had been infected with the coronavirus.
“Any person who intentionally misrepresents that he, she or any other person is infected with Covid-19 is guilty of an offence and on conviction liable to a fine or to imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months or to both such fine and imprisonment,” the law reads. Law enforcement is also not sparing people who spread fake news about Covid-19 in their list of offences and penalties in the wake of the national disaster.
“Any person who publishes any statement, through any medium, including social media, with the intention to deceive any other person… is liable on conviction to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both such fine and imprisonment.”