South Africans banned from walking dogs, buying alcohol during coronavirus lockdown

Think New York’s stay-at-home order is too strict?

In South Africa, people won’t be allowed to go running, buy alcohol or walk their dogs in the streets during a drastic three-week lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

“If you really want to walk your dog, do it around your house — it ends there,” Police Minister Bheki Cele told reporters in a news conference Wednesday.

His remarks, which contradict comments by the country’s health minister earlier in the day, follow reports that more than 700 South Africans have tested positive for COVID-19, the highest number in the continent.

Starting on Friday, police and the military will be conducting foot patrols and roadblocks to ensure that people are following the government’s orders and staying home.

South Africans will still be allowed to go outside for essential services and to buy food and medicine.

But unlike New York, where liquor stores have been deemed an “essential” business, the sale and movement of alcohol during South Africa’s lockdown is “strictly prohibited,” Cele said in a statement.

“What you have at home, you consume it there at home, not next door,” he told reporters.

A poster being promoted on social media by a South African official tried to discourage people from consuming alcohol during the pandemic.[More on Coronavirus] China honors coronavirus victims with 3 minutes of silence »

“AVOID ALCOHOL. It weakens the immune system,” the poster reads.

The list of places that will be closed for the next three weeks includes schools, houses of worship, bars, restaurants, nightclubs, parks, beaches, swimming pools, sports facilities, casinos and flea markets.

Running, another activity that’s allowed under New York’s stay-at-home decree, is also temporarily banned in South Africa.

Anyone who violates the lockdown orders could face a fine and up to six months in prison.

“Again I warn, failure to respect and obey the laws this time around, could drive us straight into a state of emergency,” Cele said in his statement.

“The situation we find ourselves in demands that we all be responsible and take the necessary precautions. Let us unite against the virus. Remember, our aim is to arrest the virus, not to arrest people.”


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