Level 1 remains: Five reactions to Easter lockdown changes
President Cyril Ramaphosa quelled murmurs of an Alert Leve 2 upgrade when he announced that, due to a number of factors, Level 1 lockdown would be kept in place for the Easter weekend.
Adjusted Level 1 lockdown for Easter weekend
South Africa has, for reasons not yet unravelled, skirted the worst of the COVID-19 second wave. Hospitality cases are relatively low, our recovery rate still tinkers a tad bit below 95% and daily infection numbers average about 1 200 positive tests per day.
Considering this, Ramaphosa and his consultancy team at the National Coronavirus Command Council (NCCC) and the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) saw it fit to keep regulations at Alert Level 1 with a few adjustments.
The only changes to this period concern off-site alcohol sales. From Friday 2 April, people will not be permitted to purchase alcohol at liquor outlets.
This, the president said, was a measure put in place to ensure that Easter festivities are not anarchical. Ironically, though, on-site alcohol sales would resume as normal.
Five reactions to adjusted Level 1 rules
For some, the hypocrisy in Ramaphosa’s announcement was hard to ignore. Here are five reactions to the adjusted Level 1 rules from opposition leaders:
John Steenhuisen – ‘an indifferent ANC government trying to look busy’
“Imposing a restriction on off-site alcohol sales for four days around Easter is not only entirely unscientific, it also places an unnecessary further strain on the livelihoods of those who make their living in this sector. This is the action of a government completely out of ideas and out of touch with the plight of its citizens. A government whose own generous salaries are not affected by its arbitrary decrees.”
Floyd Shivambu – ‘many people will be infected and will die’
Permitting the sale and consumption of alcohol in Restuarants, Shebeens and various alcohol outlets during Easter Weekend is plainly Foolish. It’s an announcement of the 3rd Wave and with his failure to deliver vaccines, many people will be infected & will die. SA’s Leaderless!— Floyd Shivambu (@FloydShivambu) March 30, 2021
Herman Mashaba – ‘end the lockdown and get South Africa back to work’
“Unlike South Africans, our government is not reasonable. It does not concede the absurdity of its plans and will not accept responsibility for the preventable deaths.”
SA Liquor Brand owners Association – ‘What is the rationale behind this?’
“We hope government will be transparent and make this information available. We would like to understand what the rationale/evidence-based reasoning is behind an 11-day ban on alcohol sales while at the same time increasing the maximum number of people allowed at gatherings.”
Civilian – ‘I don’t understand South Africa’s logic’
I really don't understand South African logic. So the economy is finished and kla but the alcohol gets ban. Funny part is there still onsite consumption allowed so meaning people who doesn't stock up will be on the road.— Stuart Pedro (@Stuart_CPT) March 31, 2021