Heritage Day: The good and bad news on alcohol sales, partying, Newsline

Cape Town – South Africans will not be able to celebrate Heritage Day with their usual fervour.

Those who haven’t stocked up on alcohol will have their partying tempered by the fact that there will be no alcohol for sale for off-site consumption on a public holiday (and weekends) under lockdown level 1 regulations. A curfew from midnight to 4am will also put a damper on celebrations.

The good news, however, is that you can consume liquor on-site in pubs, bars, taverns and hospitality venues, Police Minister Bheki Cele said during a media briefing on Tuesday.

Cele warned, though, that the police will be on the lookout for restaurants who sell beer as ’’takeaways’’.

“I want to remind all business owners who insist on flouting the rules, the long arm of the law will catch up with you and you will lose your operating licence,” Cele said.

Cele also reminded the public to remember that while social gatherings such as concerts and live performances are now permitted, nightclubs are still to remain shut.

The number of people that can attend Heritage Day events will be restricted under level 1. Gatherings are allowed as long as the number of people does not exceed 50% of the normal capacity of a venue – up to a maximum of 250 people for indoor gatherings and 500 people for outdoor gatherings.

While President Cyril Ramaphosa has encouraged South Africans to indulge in the Jerusalema dance challenge, people shouldn’t get too carried away. Cele urged South Africans to remain aware of their neighbours and be considerate of noise levels.

“There are many complaints received of noisy and disruptive behaviour at people’s homes. This virus is still very much with us and despite the lifting of restrictions, people need to take responsibility for their own lives and that of their loved ones.”

Cele assured South Africans that even though the country is on the lowest alert level of the national lockdown, “law enforcement will remain on high alert”.

The police minister said that from the start of the lockdown to date, 310 494 people have been arrested and charged with contravention of the country’s lockdown rules under the Disaster Management Act.

These violations include liquor, transport, cross-border and business-related violations, he said. The Western Cape recorded the most arrest with 72 137 charges, followed by Gauteng with 59 000 arrests.