Long queues have formed outside shops selling alcohol in South Africa after restrictions on its sale, imposed two months ago as part of measures to fight COVID-19 were lifted.
Social media posts showed people who had braved the morning chill cheering as buyers emerged with their bottles.
The alcohol ban was to allow police and hospitals to better focus on tackling the coronavirus, officials said.
Alcohol-fuelled violence is a huge problem in South Africa.
Doctors and police say the ban has had a vast impact, contributing to a sharp drop in casualty admissions.
But the country’s brewers and winemakers had complained that they were being driven out of business.
The government has also lost a fortune in tax revenue, the BBC’s Andrew Harding reports from Johannesburg.
Officials are now in the process of easing one of the toughest lockdowns in the world.
As part of this latest step – known as level three – President Cyril Ramaphosa said that sales of alcohol will resume from 1 June, but between 9am and 5pm only and not on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
Also, alcohol can only be drunk at home, rather than where it was bought.
Officials had warned customers not to rush to the shops but rather stagger their purchases throughout the week to avoid crowds and to reduce the risk of infection, the BBC’s Vumani Mkhize in Johannesburg reports.
On Twitter, “Tops”, the name of a liquor store, and “level three” are the top trending topics in South Africa, with people sharing pictures of celebrating – some singing – the return of alcohol sales.
At least eight million people are estimated to have gone back to work on Monday as most sectors of the economy have resumed operations.
The opening of schools has, however, been delayed for another week as the authorities work on making the premises safe for teachers and students.
Despite the easing of restrictions, infection rates for the coronavirus continue to rise. Cape Town is experiencing a sharp spike and other big cities are expected to follow suit.
South Africa is also grappling with a severe shortage of testing equipment.
Source: bbc.com via Asaase Radio 99.5