You cannot buy alcohol or walk your dog during coronavirus lockdown as South Africa introduces strict new measures

South Africans will not be able to purchase alcohol or walk their dogs during the lockdown period, police minister Bheki Cele said at a press briefing on Wednesday (25 March).

Cele said that the decision was made to protect South Africans and encourage social distancing as he announced a number of other prohibitions.

“There shall be no food at restaurants. There is no need to be on the road. There is no need to move around. There was a little bit of a story earlier on that you can walk your dogs. There shall be no dogs that will be walked,” said Cele.

He added that if people wanted to walk their dogs, they could do so around the house.

There will also be no movement of alcohol during the lockdown period, said Cele.

Buying and transporting alcohol has also been prohibited, said Cele. “The movement of the alcohol or liquor can be restricted. There shall be no movement of liquor. If we find liquor in your boot, that is illegal,” said Cele.

“For 21 days, please stay sober”

The statement from Cele follows health minister Zweli Mkhize stating that people can walk or exercise in the street during the 21-day lockdown.

“You can take a walk, you can walk with your dog, you can jog, but you must do it alone or with a good distance between you,” Mkhize said earlier in the day.

However, following the statement from Cele, he corrected the stance of government, saying that the debate sparked by the earlier stance caused government to re-think the position.

“The response (this morning) was in line with the thinking at the time. We have seen the distraction that this debate has had, so we asked that the matter be re-discussed.

“The position is now what we all agree with. To avoid any distraction, we are saying to people that (these activities) do not add any value in implementing the lockdown,” he said.

The full list of prohibitions and closures announced by Cele include:

  • Any place or premises where religious, cultural, sporting, creative or organisational events take place;
  • Any place where non-essential goods are being sold;
  • Public parks, beaches, pools, bazaars, flea markets;
  • Night clubs, casinos, lodges, hotels, resorts – except where tourists are being held;
  • Private and public game farms;
  • Consumption premises such as taverns, bars, pubs and shebeens;
  • Liquor stores and sections selling alcohol in supermarkets;
  • Theatres and cinemas;
  • Shopping malls – except for supermarkets;
  • Restaurants;
  • No walking of dogs or jogging – after cabinet clusters determined it would not serve the interest of the lockdown.

The police minister said that South Africans face strict punishments for breaching these prohibitions including a fine, or imprisonment of up to six months.

Cele said that the police and SANDF are ready to act – to ensure that non-movement will be implemnted. “For 21-days, please stay sober,” he said.

Transport minister Fikile Mbalula meanwhile, said that driver’s licences which expired during the lockdown period will be given a 14-day period after the lockdown is lifted.

Read: South Africa’s coronavirus lockdown does not mean a ‘shutdown’: government

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You cannot buy alcohol or walk your dog during coronavirus lockdown as South Africa introduces strict new measures