Alcohol Ban Loopholes for New Level 3

In the face of the third alcohol ban this year, it may be time to get technical: Booze has been yanked from the shelves effective immediately yet again, following Cyril Ramaphosa’s latest national address. Although all commercial sales of liquor are off-limits until mid-January, there are some notable – if not extremely elaborate – exceptions to these Level 3 rules.


  • The sale of alcohol is now prohibited at on-site premises. Essentially, restaurants are banned from selling liquor.
  • The same goes for off-site premises, such as bottle stores and retailers. An official ban is in full swing.
  • The consumption of liquor in public places is prohibited.
  • The tasting and selling of liquor to the public by registered wineries, wine farms – and other similar establishments registered as micro manufacturers – is prohibited.
  • No special or events liquor licenses may be considered between now and 15 January 2021.


Alcohol hasn’t been ‘completely outlawed’ in South Africa however. There are a set of exemptions to the rules, which mainly apply to businesses and manufacturers: For example, the transportation of alcohol is permitted – if it is being used in the production of hand sanitisers, disinfectants, or household cleaning products.

The transfer of alcohol from a point of sale to an area of ‘storage or safekeeping’ is also allowed. The only commercial exemption is that of exports. You can still order booze from South Africa – if it is to be consumed in a different country. Famous wines, beer brands, and spirits can be sent abroad during Level 3 of lockdown.

  • This is the official wording in the newly gazetted laws for Level 3:

“The transportation of liquor is prohibited, except where the transportation of liquor is…

(a) In relation to alcohol required for industries producing hand sanitizers, disinfectants, soap or alcohol for industrial use and household cleaning products.
(b) For export purposes:
(C) From manufacturing plants to storage facilities; or
(d) Being transported from any licensed premises for safekeeping.




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