Will Ramaphosa ban alcohol sales over Easter holidays?

The association claims it’s been told the national coronavirus command council intends to introduce the ban before the Easter weekend — but no official announcement has been made.

FILE: President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation at 7.30 pm on Tuesday and many are hoping he will give clarity on alcohol sales. Picture; 123rf.com

CAPE TOWN - The Liquor Brandowners Association on Tuesday claims it’s been informed government is planning to implement an alcohol ban for 11 days.

This apparently after confirmation at an industry meeting with officials from the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition on Monday.

The association claims it’s been told the national coronavirus command council intends to introduce the ban before the Easter weekend — but no official announcement has been made.

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

President Cyril Ramaphosa is expected to address the nation at 7.30 pm on Tuesday and many are hoping he will give clarity on alcohol sales.

Liquor Brandowners Association chairperson Sibani Mngadi said it was giving the government until Wednesday to clarify information that an alcohol sales ban was coming.

“We have been told that we will be shut down for 11 days starting the weekend of Easter. We have not been given details yet."

He said they wanted to know what evidence-based reasoning was behind an 11-day ban on alcohol sales.

READ MORE: ‘Let them try’ – liquor industry raring to challenge possible Easter booze ban

Mngadi said it was concerning that Trade and Industry Minister Ebrahim Patel had once again failed to meet with the industry to discuss the coming ban.

The sector has indicated sales revenue losses of R36 billion over the three bans so far - totalling 19 weeks of lost trade days.

LISTEN: Salba claims alcohol industry 'told to shut down for 11 days from Easter'

Meanwhile, medical professionals are appealing for vigilance.

There's been speculation of temporary stricter lockdown regulations ahead of the president's address to avoid potential super spreader events, which normally put a strain on hospitals.

The Medical Research Council's professor Glenda Gray is on Tuesday appealing to South Africans to be careful no matter what is decided about lockdown levels.

“We are obviously concerned that they may be super spreading events, or we may be able to pause the re-emergence of another peak or resurgence, so it’s critical as we're moving into winter months, and we move to the festivities over Easter that we continue to implement non-pharmaceutical interventions.

Gray also heads up the Sesonke vaccine study that's expecting the final delivery of 200,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine in the second week of April. Those are for healthcare workers.

The government has secured 30 million doses of the same vaccine for the mass vaccination programme.

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