NCCC to meet on Sunday to review level 4 lockdown measures

Alcohol industry pleads for week-day sales from bottle stores and for e-commerce to resume

Amanda Khoza Presidency reporter
Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says the national coronavirus command council will meet on Sunday to review current lockdown regulations. File photo.
Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says the national coronavirus command council will meet on Sunday to review current lockdown regulations. File photo.
Image: FREDDY MAVUNDA

Acting minister in the presidency Khumbudzo Ntshavheni says the national coronavirus command council (NCCC) will meet on Sunday to review the adjusted level 4 restrictions and regulations.

“Remember the regulations are coming to an end on Sunday,” she said on Friday. 

TimesLIVE understands that the NCCC will meet at 10am on Sunday.

President Cyril Ramaphosa had placed the country on adjusted level 4 lockdown to curb the spread of infections, as the new Delta variant became the dominant strain in SA.

Ramaphosa’s cabinet implemented a hard lockdown which banned the sale of alcohol, banned gatherings, and permitted restaurants and eateries to sell takeaways only, and a curfew of 9pm to 4am. He also moved school holidays forward. The latest measures began on June 28. 

A source, who asked not to be named, said he received information that: “A Cabinet decision two weeks ago was that the president would announce level 4 for 21 days, but to manage concerns from the business community, he opted for two weeks, with the intention to review thereafter.”

“There seems to be an attempt to ‘review’ restrictions now. But this is likely to be a mechanical exercise as all indications are that the status quo will remain, with room remaining open for additional restrictions as Covid-19 infection numbers are still escalating.”

It is understood that the national state of disaster will be extended by another month.  

On Friday morning, acting health minister Mmamoloko Kubayi expressed concern over the increasing number of infections and hospitalisations countrywide. In the last 24 hours, 22,910 new cases were recorded, of which the Gauteng accounts for 11,747.   

Meanwhile, the alcohol sector has written to the council pleading for the government to reopen the industry and help save livelihoods by permitting the off-site consumption sale of alcohol from Monday, July 12.

“The alcohol industry is not oblivious to the severity of the current third wave and the impact of the Delta variant. The heavy burden of responsibility that rests on our president and his team of advisers to protect the lives of our fellow South Africans and the high infection rates and the pressure that this creates on our health system, particularly in Gauteng,” reads the letter.

The industry says it has committed itself to supporting the government’s national response to the pandemic. “We are in full support of the restrictions on gatherings as contained in the regulations and we also believe that the curfew should be retained while we battle to reduce the infection rate.”

However, it says, “to enable livelihoods to be saved, we request off-site consumption licensed premises be allowed to trade from Monday to Friday from 09h00 to 18h00 and site consumption licensed premises such as taverns and bars be allowed to trade but only for off-consumption sales.”

The industry also wants the government to allow the e-commerce sale of alcohol as well as for registered microbrewers, micro wineries and micro distilleries to be able to sell off-site over weekends.

“Regulations need to be amended to allow hotels to serve breakfast at their dining area following protocols. Restaurants and related [venues] should be allowed to open and operate with no music playing, following protocols, and curfew; no DJs and with outside seating where possible.”

They are also proposing that the regulations be amended to allow interprovincial travel to support the value chain of travel and tourism.

“Your favourable consideration of our proposal will ensure that we continue making our contribution to the fiscus, which we estimate to be R2.5bn in excise tax which could be used in the fight against the pandemic,” the letter states.

TimesLIVE


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