29 December 2020
Pretoria – President Ramaphosa on Monday night reinstated the ban on the sale, distribution and transportation of alcohol. The President said that the consumption of alcohol in restaurants, nightclubs and taverns contributed to risky behaviour , like not wearing of masks and not observing social distancing. Excessive alcohol consumption was also driving the increased number of trauma cases in hospitals.
“One of the more difficult areas of regulation relates to the sale of alcohol. The liquor industry is a major employer and an important contributor to our economy. Our priority at this time, however, must be to save lives”, Ramaphosa said.
The President reiterated that reckless behavior due to alcohol intoxication has contributed to increased transmission. Alcohol-related accidents and violence are putting pressure on the hospital emergency units.
“As we had to in the early days of the lockdown, we now have to flatten the curve to protect the capacity of our healthcare system to enable it to respond effectively to this new wave of infections”.
Ramaphosa maintained that under the strengthened alert level 3 regulations, “The sale of alcohol from retail outlets and the on-site consumption of alcohol will not be permitted. The prohibition on consuming alcohol in public spaces like parks and beaches remains. Distribution and transportation will be prohibited with exceptions that will be explained by the minister”.
The announcement by the President came after The Liquor Traders Formations – a grouping of producers and retailers in the alcohol sector, had called on the government on Monday to be included in decisions making which relates to the sale and distribution of alcohol as we navigates the second wave.
The Liquor Traders Formations had warned that a total shut down on liquor sales will have a negative impact on the tavern industry and the 250 000 direct jobs involved in the sector.