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Liquor industry says govt should prepare to lift ban on sale of alcohol

The sector has welcomed suggestions from the council that the prohibition should be stopped because there is no severe pressure on hospital beds set aside to treat COVID-19 patients.

Image: 123rf.com

JOHANNESBURG - The liquor industry on Sunday said government should start preparing for lifting the alcohol ban following recommendations by the South African Medical Research Council (SAMRC).

The sector has welcomed suggestions from the council that the prohibition should be stopped because there is no severe pressure on hospital beds set aside to treat COVID-19 patients.

Last month, government imposed an immediate ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol to free up trauma units.

The National Liquor Traders Council and the Beer Association are among the organisations that have made submissions.

Spokesperson Sibani Mngadi said: “And it’s becoming clear that for now, there’s no pressure on the health system in terms of beds available. The Western Cape is peaking, reaching about 70% capacity in terms of beds available. Gauteng announced last week that there’s a 57% capacity that is currently being used and therefore there is no clear justification.”

The industry said over 100,000 jobs have been affected by the liquor ban and has requested that government defers the payment of R5 billion currently due to the South African Revenue Service until the ban on alcohol sales has been lifted.

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