With disregard for the President’s instructions being in abundance of late, the Newcastle Police is issuing a stern warning to Newcastillians.
Newcastle SAPS Corporate Communications and Liaison Officer, Lizzy Arumugam says, “The KwaZulu-Natal South African Police Service would like to advise the members of the public to be cautious this festive season. We know many people are looking forward to celebrating during the festive season, but it is also the time for the community to look after themselves during this pandemic period.”
Moreover, she affirms police officers in the province will be out in full force to enforce law and order and according to Arumugam, all those who are found to be contravening the regulations of the Disaster Management Act will face the full might of the law. “The roadblocks, stop and searches are ongoing in the province. During the operations and as part of enforcing compliance with the Liquor Act, drinking in public will be prohibited. We are appealing to community members to consider staying at home during this festive season.”
With alcohol abuse and driving under the influence in mind, Arumugam says, “Innocent lives have been lost, and others are left severely injured or paralysed due to alcohol abuse.” Additionally, the community is reminded to always wear masks, sanitise their hands and observe social distancing.
Furthermore, the police states, “The prevention of the spread of the virus is everyone’s responsibility. Let us stay at home and be safe.”
In addition, Police Minister Bheki Cele is issuing an even sterner warning to businesses.
The hours of the curfew will now be starting at 11pm and ending at 4am. According to President Cyril Ramaphosa, non-essential establishments, including restaurants and bars, will have to close at 10pm so that staff and patrons can get home before the enforcement of the curfew.
Cele has said that businesses breaking COVID-19 protocols will be fined R5 000. If they repeat their transgression, the police minister claims officials will suspend the business owners’ business for seven days.
If it is repeated for the third time, Cele has assured the business will be shut down for three months. “People who are breaking the law, we will deal with their management to tell them their establishments are facing the danger of being shut down.”
Further restrictions to adhere to this festive season, include:
- Gatherings – including religious gatherings – may not be attended by more than 100 people for indoor events and 250 for outdoor events.
- At all times, and particularly in smaller venues, the total number of people in a venue may not exceed more than 50% of the capacity of the venue.
- Due to the potential for transmission, all post-funeral gatherings, including ‘after-tears’ parties, are prohibited.
- Beaches and parks that are open to the public will only be open between 9am and 6pm.
- The sale of alcohol from retail outlets will only be permitted between 10am and 6pm from Monday to Thursday.
What are your thoughts? And how have the restrictions affected your holiday plans? Leave your views in the comment section below.
Authors: Quinton Boucher and Calvin Swemmer
Edited: Calvin Swemmer