Dancing patrons and DJs could soon land Western Cape bar and restaurant owners in trouble.
This according to a circular issued by the Western Cape police commissioner.
In the circular, titled “Offences: Amendment: Regulations Issued in terms of the disaster management act, 57 of 2002: 18 September 2020: Alert Level 1″.
“Since alert level 1 came into effect on 21 September 2020, a number of videos and social media posts have been supplied to this office indicating that clubs are operating as night clubs. In a recent incident, in excess of 70 patrons, of which a large number consisted of school children, have been infected by the Covid-19 virus after attending a party at a club.”
This contravenes both Regulation 72(1) and Regulation 80(2) of the Disaster Management Act applicable under level 1.
Under these regulations, no premises may operate as a night club and any premises that do are committing an offence in terms of the aforementioned regulations.
“A night club is defined as a club that is open at night, typically having a bar and disco or other entertainment.”
“Normally, a bar may play music to create atmosphere, however, as soon as the music is played to such an extent that the patrons start dancing, this club would fall under the definition of a night club.”
Additionally, premises that employ a DJ or live music would also fall within this category, according to the circular.
When asked for clarity regarding the circular, Western Cape police said “kindly be advised that the circular you are referring to was issued by the Western Cape provincial commissioner and has bearing on this province”.
Police further confirmed that premises that operate as a nightclub were prohibited from being open under alert Level 1 of the Disaster Management Act. This law applies country-wide.
“Outdoor functions or events where music is played or live music is performed are not affected by the Disaster Management Act and are allowed.”
No word on whether police would act against the unnamed, transgressing clubs shown in the videos mentioned in the circular.
It also currently remains unclear about whether the same definition would apply in Gauteng. Queries sent to the province’s community safety office had not yet been answered at the time of writing.