*the Minister of Health in the same meeting said that jogging and dog-walking were permitted. Bheki "I am God" Cele begged to differ and he has a hat and a gun.South Africans will not be able to purchase alcohol or walk their dogs during the lockdown period, police minister Bheki Cele said at a press briefing on Wednesday (25 March).
Cele said that the decision was made to protect South Africans and encourage social distancing as he announced a number of other prohibitions.
“There shall be no food at restaurants. There is no need to be on the road. There is no need to move around. There was a little bit of a story earlier on that you can walk your dogs*. There shall be no dogs that will be walked,” said Cele.
He added that if people wanted to walk their dogs, they could do so around the house.
I watched much of this "briefing" yesterday, having already learned from our local cash-store that all alcohol would be removed from the shelves on Thursday evening after closing. Not only shall there be no wines sold and no dogs walked, but also there shall be no jogs jogged. Thankfully, I am only affected by one out of three.
Avoid panic-buying, pleaded the government after Monday's announcement of the shut-down. Avoid panic-buying, they thundered yesterday. Oh, and we are going to ban alcohol sales from 11:59 p.m.Thursday because we've seen that some people have been having parties. Today, Thursday, will see panic-buying of alcohol like there's no tomorrow. (Don't worry - we panicked yesterday. No toilet paper frenzy for us!).
Oh and also, they said, we are going to publish limited hours of opening for the food stores - if we open for less hours, there will be less people going to the stores at the same time. But we don't have those times yet - but don't rush out on Thursday and buy things.
Also, we are going to restrict what the shops can put on their shelves. So, no cigarettes. All those who smoke, you won't find any packs at the stores so you don't need to leave your house on Friday or for the next 21 days to waste time in shops. We will also remove many other things so that only "essential" things are in the store - that will cut down on how long anyone will be in there. But don't rush out on Thursday to do panic buying of your decadent decaff, or bagels, or whatever else we think is "non-essential". Supplies for your printers - closed and gone, finish and klaar, unless you work from home which you all must do but you can't go out to get those.
Last night, the panel of ministers (impressive!) took questions from journalists. But it was done by allowing 15 or so journos to ask all the questions one after another while various ministers used their crayons to take notes. The first question was, "If the army and police are stopping people driving cars or walking to the essential food stores, what must the driver do to prove that they are going legally to buy groceries?". Bheke Cele, generalissimo of dogs and schnaps, waited patiently for the 25 minutes it took to listen to all the questions and then proceeded to talk about Uber, dogs, alcohol and how "we will stop you". But that key question, the one of most importance to all South Africans, was ignored. It still is today.
We've seen what appear to be talking points from gov't meetings: only one person per vehicle and he/she must wear gloves and a mask. No, you can have two people in a vehicle but the passenger must sit in the back and both must wear masks. But not gloves. Everyone will be issued a designated time and day to drive to the food store. No, it will be done by the first letter of your last name. Basotho people will be screwed - almost all last names begin with M. It's like saying in Korea that 9-10 a.m. belongs to all Kims and Lees. The only consistent article of agreement is "you will be arrested"
Journalist: "Where will the arrested people be put - all together in facilities marked for non-infected, maybe infected and definitely positive?"