There were long queues at stores selling alcohol in South Africa after lifting restrictions on its sale. The government imposed the ban two months ago as part of measures to combat Covid-19.
Social media videos saw customers braving the morning cold, celebrating as consumers appeared with their bottles. The prohibition on alcohol was to support police and hospitals to focus more on combating the coronavirus, officials said. Alcohol-fuelled crime is a major issue in South Africa.
- Coronavirus Developments In The Country Of Nigeria
- South Africa is Loosing it: The Covid-19 Impact on South Africa Economy
The ban has had a dramatic impact, say doctors and police, contributing to a significant decline in casualty admissions.
— The_Cube (@The_1Cube) June 1, 2020
But the brewers and wine-makers in the country complained that the government was driving them out of business.
Regulation on Alcohol
The government has suffered a lot in tax income, BBC’s Andrew Harding says in Johannesburg.
The authorities are currently in the process of relieving one of the world’s toughest lockdowns.
As part of this new phase-defined as level three, President Cyril Ramaphosa said, the selling of alcohol resumes from 1 June, but only between 09:00 and 17:00 and not on Fridays, Saturdays or Sundays.
South Africans can only take alcohol at home, rather than where they purchased it.
— Siyabonga (@Siyatay_SA) June 1, 2020
The authorities had warned customers not to rush to the shops but to shuffle their purchases throughout the week. This will help avoid crowds and reduce the risk of infection, reports Vumani Mkhize from the BBC in Johannesburg.
On Twitter, “Tops,” the name of the liquor store, and “Level Three” are the top trends in South Africa. Besides, people are sharing photos of celebration -some singing-the return of alcohol sales.
According to reports, at least eight million workers are back to work on Monday. While most parts of the economy are also now functioning.
What about schools?
Initially, teachers and students were to return to school on Monday, but the authorities moved the resumption back until next week.
Trade unions serving teachers also advised their members to stay at home until the health and safety laws to prevent coronavirus transmission is ready, reports Nomsa Maseko of the BBC in Johannesburg.
The Department of Education vowed to disinfect classrooms and to supply all schools with safe, running water and personal protective equipment. Yet several still haven’t received the items, she says.
Education Minister Angie Motshekga said that the authorities would use this week to train schools for virus protection plans.
Amid the relaxation of restrictions in South Africa, the incidence of coronavirus infection continues to increase. Cape Town is now undergoing a dramatic upsurge, and other big cities are anticipated to follow suit.
The country is also struggling with a severe lack of testing equipment.
Over 32,000 cases of coronavirus and 683 deaths have been recorded.