Level 5 alcohol ban Gauteng

Chair of Premier’s Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Mary Kawonga. Image via: Gauteng Department of Health.

Gauteng heading for Level 5 and alcohol ban? Here’s what the experts say

With COVID infections spiking in Gauteng, the provincial command council outlined what should happen. Level 5? Alcohol ban? Find out here.

Level 5 alcohol ban Gauteng

Chair of Premier’s Advisory Committee on COVID-19, Mary Kawonga. Image via: Gauteng Department of Health.

Gauteng is under severe pressure with COVID-19 cases spiralling out of control, so much so, that is driving the third wave in South Africa. During a Provincial Coronavirus Command Council (PCCC) briefing on Thursday 24 June, Dr Mary Kawonga said that 10 000 new cases were reported in the province on Wednesday. She also said there is a 37% positivity rate which is worrying. So the question remains, what should happen from here on out?… Level 5? An alcohol ban? Here’s what the experts had to say. 


Kawonga said the pandemic trajectory has continued on track to the worse case scenario and should peak in the first week of July. She also said it’s very clear that Alert Level 1 measures did not work and that it was insufficient. 

“We moved into Alert Level 3 and we’re now eight days in and we haven’t seen any impact yet but we usually expect two weeks before we start to see visible effects,” she said.  

Kawonga said recent infections and the positivity rate is very worrying and tighter restrictions may be what is needed……but did she mean Level 5? Did she mean more alcohol restrictions? 

“The worst case scenario is not necessarily inevitable. We need tighter restrictions and that might require government imposed non-pharmaceutical interventions, in other words, the lockdown measures that the NCCC often makes a decision about,” she said.  

Kawonga went on to say that we need to balance health with the economic considerations, as livelihoods are always affected when we have harsh lockdown measures such as Level 5 or even Level 4. 

“The recommendations we’ve been making to the provincial command council and the premier is that Level 5 is way too stringent and would have a disastrous effect on the economy and people’s livelihoods and also it’s quite late in the pandemic trajectory to expect to see a big impact,” she said. 


Kawonga said one of the things they have been proposing is perhaps a hybrid of existing Level 3 measures together with some level 4 measures in one if possible…not necessarily Level 5.

“But as we know, the decision lies with the national level of government, however, we in Gauteng are not powerless,” said Kawonga. 

Kawonga said they are highly concerned about the number of people in hospitals in the province. Healthcare workers are stressed and stretched. 

“It’s draining on them emotionally, as well as those who are sick and their families,” she said.  

Kawonga said Infections are increasing in the province at an “alarming rate” and  cases generate hospitalisations. 

High mobility of the public and failing to adhere to the three C’s, namely; crowded places, close-contact settings and confined and enclosed spaces. When this doesn’t happen, cases spike and subsequently hospitalisations. Kawonga said lockdowns are usually due to hospitalisations and if the public only caught covid as a mild infection, there probably wouldn’t be a need for lockdowns in general. 

In terms of alcohol restrictions, Kawonga said we already have them under Alert Level 3. 

“The question that the policymakers now need to ask is, is that sufficient? We’ve restricted alcohol, it’s not an outright ban but there has to be a balance where you are strict enough but perhaps not too strict that you are impacting too much on the economy. So there might be a need to increase the restrictions by banning alcohol over weekends or things like that for example,” she added. 

There is some speculation that President Cyril Ramaphosa will address the nation before the week is over, however, the presidency has not confirmed this as yet.