Explained | 'Midnight on Monday' leaves thirsty SA puzzled

Alcohol and tobacco product sales will be permitted from Tuesday.
Alcohol and tobacco product sales will be permitted from Tuesday.
Image: 123RF/kzenon

South Africans were left confused following President Cyril Ramaphosa's address over the weekend.

The president announced that the bans on alcohol and cigarette sales would be lifted at midnight on Monday.

“Guided by the advice of our health experts and after consultation with provincial and local government, cabinet has decided to place the entire country on alert level 2 with effect from midnight on August 17,” said Ramaphosa.

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“Restrictions on the sale of tobacco will be lifted. The suspension of the sale of alcohol will be lifted subject to certain restrictions. Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only until 10pm. Liquor outlets will be allowed to sell alcohol for off-site consumption from Monday to Thursday during the hours of 9am to 5pm only.”

The confusion around “midnight on Monday” once again saw “midnight” topping Twitter's trending list.

This is not the first time the term has puzzled SA. It happened at the end March when Ramaphosa announced that the country would be on national lockdown "from midnight".

On the weekend many were wondering if “midnight” meant Sunday at 00:01 or Monday at 00:01.

So, what's the right answer? Tuesday. Level 2 regulations will be in place from August 18.

The presidency revealed the country will move to alert level 2 on Tuesday.

As SA moves to lockdown level 2 on August 18, prohibitions on the sale of alcohol and tobacco products will be lifted. Gyms and fitness centres will be permitted to reopen. Appropriate restrictions and safety precautions will apply to protect public health,” said the presidency.

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