Alcohol industry fears another booze ban for Easter, COVID-19 third wave

Role players in the hard-hit sector are waiting to see whether President Cyril Ramaphosa could announce stricter lockdown regulations for the Easter long weekend.

FILE: SAB beer crates are being gathered as the Fenyane Bottle store prepares for alcohol sales to resume on 18 August 2020. Alcohol will be permitted for on-site consumption in licensed establishments only up until 10pm. Vosloorus, Ekuerhuleni. Picture: Sthembiso Zulu/Eyewitness News

CAPE TOWN - With the possibility of another so-called 'family meeting' ahead of the Easter break, the liquor industry is anxious another liquor ban will be imposed.

Role players in the hard-hit sector are waiting to see whether President Cyril Ramaphosa could announce stricter lockdown regulations for the Easter long weekend.

The industry has lost in excess of R36.3 billion in revenue due to various alcohol bans over the last year.

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The Liquor Traders Association said that it was mindful that it needed to play its part in efforts to circumvent a potential third wave of COVID-19 infections.

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National convener Lucky Ntimane said that they were open to reducing their trading hours and days, however, an outright ban would not be sustainable.

“The majority of our liquor traders, 70% of which are small to medium enterprises, we are really struggling to survive hence the talk of a ban as a way for government to deal with the COVID-19 third wave worries us.”

Ntimane said that the onus remained on the public to ensure they remained compliant and consumed liquor responsibly by not contributing to an increase in alcohol-related trauma.

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