27 December 2020
Pretoria – Liquor Traders have made a call on the Government to continue working with the alcohol industry to find solutions on how to fight the Covid-19 pandemic in a manner that can safeguard the 1 million livelihoods that are dependant on the alcohol industry, Lucky Ntimane, Convenor, Liquor Traders Formations said.
The liquor industry want inclusion by the government on decision matters to do with the sale and consumption of alcohol which includes; liquor traders to be allowed to continue the off- premise sale of alcohol as the country navigates the second wave, a total shut down of the liquor sales would mean an end to the tavern market and the 250 000 direct jobs linked to the sector and that the liquor industry should be consulted on any restrictions.
“We do not think that a total ban on alcohol sales will be a solution either in the short or long term in arresting the resurgence and uptick in the number of positive cases for Covid -19”, Ntimane said.
Ntimane reiterated that the alcohol industry is considering two options to curb Covid-19 which are; a measured curfew that restricts unnecessary movement of the general public whilst balancing the interests of the tourism sector which is dependant on the availability of alcohol and that alcohol restrictions if any, should provide for off sale to allow for consumption at home and provide a special dispensation for taverns to operate as of premises with restricted hours.
“As liquor traders we have observed with disappointment the lack of adherence to the control measures by some who have conducted themselves in a manner not befitting of patriotic South Africans”, Ntimane said.
“ They have failed to heed the call by the President to behave in a manner that helps the country fight the second wave of the pandemic. We continue to call our liquor traders and the public at large to observe the Covid -19 regulations as it relates to the wearing of masks at all times, sanitising and washing our hands regularly, and observing social distancing”.
Ntimane maintained that, “It is our belief that any decision that affects our industry should be discussed with us beforehand and our inputs considered before any decision is communicated to the general public”.
There has been a turf war between the alcohol industry and the government since the Covid – 19 induced lockdown.