Police minister Bheki Cele. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER
Police minister Bheki Cele. Picture: ESA ALEXANDER

Religious and business organisers who do not heed the national disaster procedures will be arrested, says police minister Bheki Cele. The SA Police Service will not enforce mass arrests if gatherings have more than 100 people, or if a restaurant sells alcohol after 6pm — but will go after the organisers and owners allowing it. 

Strict regulations have been issued to govern the national state of disaster in SA, which include placing constraints on the selling and consumption of alcohol, and on how many people can be at a gathering. 

The state of disaster was declared on Sunday to try to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic, which has spread at a rapid rate globally. 

In terms of the regulations, restaurants, bars and taverns cannot sell alcohol after 6pm, and alcohol cannot be consumed after that time, even if it was bought before 6pm. These institutions are also not allowed to have more than 50 people in the venue at any given time while operational. 

“After 6pm you can still drink your alcohol, but only at home, nowhere else,” police minister Bheki Cele said at a media briefing on Friday.

He warned that if patrons continue to drink in a restaurant after 6pm, “we will spot you, and the owner of the place that allows you to continue to drink will be arrested”.

He said if an event has more than 100 people present, the people will merely be dispersed, but the organiser of the event will be arrested.  

People may face a six-month imprisonment, a fine, or both if the regulations are not adhered to.

While restaurants can continue doing business after 6pm, there has to be less than 50 people in the venue. Cele emphasised that the 50 people does not only include patrons, but staff as well. 


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