President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that off-site liquor sales would be banned from Good Friday until next Monday (Family Day).
Ramaphosa has kept South Africa on lockdown level 1 ahead of the long Easter weekend, albeit with a few changes pertaining to liquor sales.
“Just those four days,” the president said on Tuesday evening.
However, on-site sales of liquor at taverns, restaurants and similar remain permitted, in accordance with the establishment’s licence conditions and the curfew that begins at midnight and ends at 4 am.
South Africa has far conducted 9, 844, 835 Covid 19 tests with cases totalling 1, 546, 735 and 1, 473, 588 recoveries and 52, 788 deaths since the pandemic struck. The rainbow nation has so far vaccinated 251, 707 citizens
The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) has slammed the government’s move to curtail liquor sales over the Easter weekend, saying it is “unnecessary” and has “no valid basis”.
The Beer Lobby Slammed the president’s heavy-handed halt on liquor sales.
The liquor industry under its umbrella body, the South African Liquor Brandowners Association (Salba) said there is no scientific evidence that the off-site sales of alcohol might lead to an increased spread of the virus.
“We simply cannot continue to operate under the constant uncertainty that our industry has faced with every holiday, where our ability to trade is at risk of being limited with no proper justification.”
“Currently there has been no increase in cases despite the alcohol industry being open, and there has been no increase in trauma unit cases reported to justify shutting down the sale of alcohol for off-site consumption over the Easter holidays,” Basa said in a statement on late on Tuesday.
Basa comprises the Craft Brewers Association, Heineken South Africa and South African Breweries.
Earlier, President Cyril Ramaphosa kept South Africa on lockdown level 1 but announced that off-site liquor sales would be banned for four days – from Good Friday until next Monday (Family Day) – “given the role of alcohol in fuelling reckless behaviour”.
However, on-site sales of liquor at taverns, restaurants and similar remain permitted, in accordance with the establishment’s licence conditions and the curfew.
Basa also questioned the basis and thinking behind the halting of off-site sales.
“There is, however, ample evidence that restrictions on alcohol sales have been a boost to the illicit alcohol industry – to the detriment of government revenue and public health,” the group said.
Ramaphosa also eased religious gatherings after he announced that gatherings would be restricted to 250 people indoors and 500 outdoors, adding that smaller venues must remain within 50% of the allowed capacity.
“We continue to urge all South Africans to avoid gatherings if they are in a vulnerable group, such as the elderly and those with co-morbidities. We also urge that gatherings should take place in outdoor venues, which are significantly safer than gathering indoors.
“We will review these measures on the size of gatherings within the next 15 days based on an assessment on the state of the pandemic and the extent of compliance with health protocols,” Ramaphosa said.
He also announced that interprovincial travel would be allowed but he urged restraint.
“I urge all South Africans to limit their travel as much as possible and to observe all the necessary health protocols if they cannot avoid travelling.”
This address comes after the government was reportedly advised by the Ministerial Advisory Committee (MAC) to move the country to Alert Level 2 lockdown, to help minimise the risk of a third wave of Covid-19 infections after the Easter break. – The Citizen