A staff member of a restaurant holds hand sanitiser for customers to use as a preventive measure in the international departures terminal at the OR Tambo International Airport on March 16 2020. Picture: AFP/GUILLEM SARTORIO
A staff member of a restaurant holds hand sanitiser for customers to use as a preventive measure in the international departures terminal at the OR Tambo International Airport on March 16 2020. Picture: AFP/GUILLEM SARTORIO

The government on Wednesday ordered all clubs, restaurants and taverns to either close down with immediate effect or scale down their patrons to less than 50 people at any given time.

The order was gazetted by co-operative governance & traditional affairs minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma in conformity with the national state of disaster declared on Sunday by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The declaration was made to curb the growing coronavirus pandemic, which has affected more than 116 South Africans to date.

No special or events liquor licences may be considered for approval during the national state of disaster. The regulations also dictate that all on-consumption premises selling liquor must be closed between 6pm and 9am the next morning on weekdays and Saturdays; and from 1pm on Sundays and public holidays.  

The regulations will now give the legal ammunition to cities such as Johannesburg to take action against institutions selling alcohol for consumption on their properties if the limit of persons is not adhered to.  

According to the regulations, all on-consumption premises selling liquor, including taverns, restaurants and clubs, must be closed with immediate effect or must accommodate no more than 50 persons at any time, provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with Covid-19, are adhered to.

The regulations require that all premises selling liquor which provide accommodation must implement measures to stop the spread of Covid-19, provided that adequate space is available and that all directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with Covid-19 are adhered to.

Earlier on Wednesday the City of Johannesburg called on restaurants and bars to cease operations immediately as local provincial authorities rush to help curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

“Given that the city has a population of 5.5-million residents, mostly in high-density settlements and with a significant population located in informal settlements, this warrants the implementation of drastic yet responsible interventions to prevent a potential rapid spread that could affect millions in a short space of time and have devastating effects on the capacity of our health facilities and personnel to respond,” Joburg metro mayor Geoff Makhubo said.

Makhhubo said the city’s approach is to prevent, contain and manage the spread of Covid-19 through efficient and equitable deployment of resources to the most vulnerable areas, particularly informal and densely populated settlements.

The city’s 79 clinics have all received protective equipment, while personnel have been briefed on how to manage suspected or confirmed cases in line with the national and provincial protocols. Health teams are being deployed to support the elderly and vulnerable people throughout the city.

Makhubo said all events approved by the joint operations centre of the city have been cancelled and approvals provided have been revoked in line with the president’s pronouncement on events and gatherings exceeding 100 people.

He said the Joburg, Soweto and Roodepoort theatres have been directed to postpone all shows and activities until further notice, while all public swimming pools, recreational and civic centres, stadiums, libraries and sporting facilities are to be closed until further notice. This includes the Johannesburg Zoo.

The city will also “drastically” scale down operations for the metro bus and Rea Vaya bus services to one person per two-seater, and two people per three-seater bench.

Makhubo said all buses will be sanitised once every 24 hours and washed twice a day, while cash payments for trips will be suspended.

mailovichc@businesslive.co.za

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