During the state of disaster declared on Sunday, it is now illegal to serve or sell alcohol at a public venue after 6pm on weekdays, and 1pm on weekends and public holidays.
In footage that started circulating last night, police can be seen shutting down a tavern in inner Johannesburg, after the venue was in contravention of the ban on serving and drinking alcohol after 6pm on weekdays imposed by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
The owner was also arrested.
It happened at numerous other venues, too, countrywide.
JMPD Chief David Tembe said there had been a number of such actions across the city, with two tavern owners also taken in by police in Roodepoort.
1x tavern owner arrested by our @JoburgMPD #RegionF1 Operations officers for selling alcohol in Contravention of the Gauteng liquor Act by selling alcohol without a valid liquor license at Cnr Anderson & End Str in the Joburg Inner City. Suspect detained Jeppe SAPS.#SaferJoburg pic.twitter.com/66hX89YpnB
— Tembeds (@AsktheChief01) March 21, 2020
Police Minister Bheki Cele at a media briefing on Thursday appeared to contradict information that had been gazetted on Wednesday about restaurants and other establishments having to close early during the Covid-19 state of disaster.
Government gazetted that all establishments that sell alcohol will have to close at 6pm each day, and at 1pm on Sundays and public holidays. They can only open again at 9am. However, the ban is only on the sale and serving on the alcohol, not on just being open.
Establishment management and owners cried out on Wednesday that they would not survive if they could not even serve food or non-alcoholic beverages after 6pm. They argued it could potentially put hundreds of thousands of people out of work overnight.
Cele said that what the police would enforce was that alcohol could not be purchased or served in these public places after the set times. Alcohol could only be consumed privately, at home after the restricted time.
He clarified that the restriction would also apply to Saturdays at 1pm.
“You can do this at your father’s house but not at these places.”
Liquor stores will have to keep the same hours. These have come into effect as part of the Disaster Management Act.
On Wednesday it was announced that restaurants and hotels, and all pubs, bars, clubs, taverns and shebeens will be affected, and they were barred from having more than 50 patrons at a time, or be shut down.
The granting of liquor licences was halted too for events.