South Africa’s police minister has warned restaurants not to hide alcohol in teapots to try and get around a fresh ban on the sale of liquor.
President Cyril Ramaphosa said “reckless behaviour” caused by drinking increased the risk of spreading Covid as he announced the ban on Monday.
A new, faster-spreading variant of the coronavirus was detected in South Africa about two weeks ago.
Mr Ramaphosa said it had become “well-established” in the country.
As part of a new slew of restrictions aimed at restricting further transmission, he has banned gatherings except for funerals, imposed a curfew between 21:00 and 06:00, and ordered all shops, bars and other venues to shut by 20:00.
Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday after the new measures came into effect, Police Minister Bheki Cele warned that restaurants would lose their trading licences and owners prosecuted if they flouted the ban.
“Don’t put alcohol in your teapots in restaurants. Don’t put alcohol in the bottles written 0% alcohol. We know your tricks, don’t do that,” said Mr Cele.
“If we find that there is something different in the teapots and not tea in the teapot – we will make sure that you lose your [trading] license.”
To beat a hard lockdown imposed in April and May during the first Covid-19 wave some restaurants sought to evade a ban on liquor sales by serving drinks in teapots and other containers.
The slew of restrictions announced on Monday will be in place until mid-January and will be enforced by the police with support from the army.