Minister Fritz and WC Liquor Authority provide clarity on operating hours
The Minister of Community Safety, Albert Fritz, is calling on on-consumption and off-consumption liquor vendors to adhere to the promulgation of the attached Government Gazette – No. 43107, regulations issued in terms of section 27 (2) of the Disaster Management Act, 2002.
The following regulations will be enforced to ensure the safety of residents in the province and to stop the spread of Coronavirus disease or COVID-19. Minister Fritz has sought counsel from the Western Cape Liquor Authority (WCLA), particularly in terms of operating hours, and notes that the following will apply:
No sale of liquor during the following hours:
- 18:00 – 09:00 on weekdays and Saturdays
- 13:00 – 09:00 on Sundays and all public holidays
All on-consumption premises selling liquor, including taverns, restaurants and clubs may continue to operate ONLY if the following conditions are complied with:
- All liquor, opened, closed, finished or unfinished MUST be off the tables, and can’t be consumed, during the no-sale hours;
- No more than 50 people may be accommodated on the premises at the same time, including staff;
- Adequate space must be available for social distancing which means 1 square meter per person; and
- All directions in respect of hygienic conditions and limitation of exposure to persons with COVID-19 must be adhered to.
Minister Fritz said, “It follows that all on-consumption premises which do not adhere must close with immediate effect until further notice. It is important to note that restaurants and other businesses which sell alcohol on-site may remain open until their closing time but must enforce the necessary hygienic measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 and ensure the health and safety of residents in the province.”
No event or temporary liquor license applications for trading on dates that fall within the time period to which the state of disaster has been declared, will be accepted. Event and temporary applications for dates that fall outside of the time period of the state of disaster will still be accepted and will only be considered once the state of disaster has lapsed. Should the state of disaster be extended, applications within the extended period will not be considered.
Minister Fritz said, “The WCLA has stated that enforcement actions will be taken against license holders who contravene relevant legislation. The regulations do not criminalise the contravention of the operating hours stipulated under regulation 8. However, those who are found by the Western Cape Liquor Authority to be trading beyond the prescribed hours will be issued with a formal warning at first. Thereafter, the WCLA will follow the procedures as stipulated in section 71 of Western Cape Liquor Act. This entails an application being submitted to the Liquor Licensing Tribunal for the temporary suspension of a liquor license because of an imminent threat to the health and well-being of the public. This procedure will be enforced by both SAPS and law enforcement who have been made aware.”
Minister Fritz said, “As the Western Cape Government, we are implementing the following measures to ensure your health and safety. If we are to address this health crisis, we must ensure that every measure is taken to stop the spread. Each of must implement the necessary hygienic, self-distancing and self-isolation measures.”