SA shifts to alert level 3, alcohol sale ban removed, says Ramaphosa




President Cyril Ramaphosa addressing the nation tonight on the latest Covid-19 infections . Picture GCIS

Cape Town – South Africa will move to adjusted level 3 on Sunday, which means restaurants can reopen and alcohol sales can resume, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on Sunday.

“Cabinet this afternoon … decided that the country should be moved from adjusted alert level 4 and be placed on adjusted alert level 3,” Ramaphosa said.

He said the new alert level will take effect on Sunday evening once the new regulations have been gazetted.

“The overall decline in new infections means that it is possible to gradually ease some of the restrictions on gatherings, movement and the sale of alcohol,” Ramaphosa said.

The curfew remains the same, he said, between 10pm and 4am.

Interprovincial travel for leisure may resume.

Bars, taverns, gyms and restaurants may be opened but will have to close by 9pm.

Gatherings will be allowed but limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors.

Funeral restrictions remain at 50 people allowed and night vigils remain banned.

“The sale of alcohol from retail outlets for off-site consumption will be permitted between 10am and 6 pm from Monday to Thursday. Alcohol sales for on-site consumption will be permitted as per licence conditions up to 8pm.”

Schools will also reopen on Monday.

Ramaphosa’s address on developments in the country’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic came after he met with the National Coronavirus Command Council, the President’s Coordinating Council and Cabinet.

The National Health Department said 9 718 new Covid-19 cases and 287 deaths were reported on Sunday.

The cumulative number of Covid-19 cases identified in South Africa was 2 377 823, and the total death toll stood at 69 775.

“The cumulative number of recoveries now stand at 2 158 183, with a recovery rate of 90.8%,” the department said on Twitter.

Ramaphosa said on Sunday that the country was not out of the woods yet as certain provinces such as the Western Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape have continued to see a rise in cases. Gauteng, which was the epicentre of the third wave, has seen a decrease in cases.

He stressed that there remains a concern about the spread of the coronavirus and people should continue to social distance and wear masks.

Ramaphosa commended the country’s ability to increase the number of people who have been vaccinated. The country surpassed 200,000 vaccinations in a single day last week and Ramaphosa said he still hoped to see this number reach 300,000 a day.

From September 1, people between the ages of 18 and 35 will be allowed to get vaccinated.

The president said the country expects to receive over 30 million vaccine doses from Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson in the next three months. This means there will be enough doses for the year, he assured. – IOL