As part of its 21-day nationwide shutdown of business to curtail the spread of Covid- 19, South African Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel noted that cigarette sales would be prohibited during the shutdown. Alcohol sales will be strictly confined to bars, nightclubs, restaurants, liquor stores and taverns at set hours.
“We have to contain the spread of the virus,” said Patel. “If this virus spreads widely, it can cause very, very serious damage. So, we will implement and learn from implementing, and we can amend the regulations as we go on. We have a 21-day lockdown, it’s not a year, it’s not two years. It’s a 21-day lockdown to try to see if we can contain this.
“On the items that people can buy, obviously we wanted to keep the list as short and simple as possible so that we can do a quick turnaround at shops so that people spend the minimum amount of time there and travel as infrequently to the shops as possible, Patel added.
“Cigarettes is not a basic good.”