Level 3 lockdown alcohol cigarettes

Photo: Pixabay

Level 3 to Level 1: When might alcohol and cigarettes go back on sale?

The debate over the sale of alcohol and cigarettes is set to intensify as we enter Level 3: Here’s how the laws on purchases change at each lockdown stage.

Level 3 lockdown alcohol cigarettes

Photo: Pixabay

As the president prepares to address the nation on Sunday, the drinkers and smokers of South Africa will be waiting with knots in their stomachs: Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to confirm that the nation will move into Level 3 of lockdown next week, easing many restrictions across the professional and recreational sectors. However, the future of alcohol and cigarette sales still remains a source of uncertainty.

Level 3 date: When can South Africans buy beer during lockdown?

A quick glance at the government’s own guidelines suggests that alcohol will come back for Level 3. The attempts of certain ministers to conflate booze consumption with low crime rates have seemingly fallen short. These are the regulations which are likely to determine when we can have an alcoholic drink during lockdown:

  • Level 4 and Level 5: Total ban on purchases – this is where we resort to making our own pineapple beer.
  • Level 3: Off-premises consumption of alcohol allowed. According to the latest draft regulations, you will be able to buy booze from Monday to Thursday, during a four-hour window from 8:00 – 12:00.
  • Level 3 continued: We’re waiting on confirmation on two things: Whether there will be restrictions on how much can be bought in one go, and if the government is planning to decide when people can buy booze ‘based on their surnames‘.
  • Level 2: You’ll be allowed to buy alcohol at any time, any place from all retail outlets. Bars & restaurants stay closed.
  • Level 1: Restaurants open under strict guidelines. You can, at this stage, go out for a meal and order alcoholic beverages. You can also order booze online, and stores will continue sales in the normal manner. No bars, though.
  • Other: Bars, taverns and pubs will only open once all lockdown measures are lifted completely. That’s a while away yet.

Lockdown latest: When will cigarettes be back on sale in South Africa?

The roadmap for ale seems strikingly simple. And according to several sources, liquor could be back on our shelves next week. But those hoping to grab a box of smokes at the end of the month may be disappointed.

In the past few days, there has been a vehement effort to extend the cigarette ban even further. Some ministers want them prohibited until the very end of lockdown. From what we’ve been told (and using details from the health department’s information portal), cigarettes face a bumpy road towards liberation:

  • Level 4 and Level 5: No cigarettes at all. Unless you’re willing to pay hundreds on the illegal market. Or smoke rooibos.
  • Level 3: As far as we understand, the decision rests on a knife-edge. As of 11:45 on Sunday 24 May – just hours before Ramaphosa’s latest address to the nation – Cabinet is still undecided on bringing cigs back.
  • Level 3 continued: It has been long-promised that smokes will return to the shelves at this stage of lockdown. But behind-the-scenes developments amid NCC influence has cast doubt on the entire process.
  • Level 2: This depends on the final regulations for Level 3, which will be addressed on Sunday evening and later in the week. But there may only be one level of lockdown that absolutely guarantees cigarette sales…
  • Level 1: Even the government’s most staunch critics of cigarettes have suggested that all limitations on cigarettes should be lifted at this stage – which could still be two-to-three months away.

This article will be amended as and when we are given more information about the longevity of these bans.