SAB takes steps to ensure traders work responsibly under level 3
Cape Town - The South African Breweries (SAB) has put in place several measures to minimise the risk of spreading the coronavirus (Covid-19) when the level 3 lockdown regulations kick in on Monday.
Following an eight-week ban on the sale of alcohol, government recently announced the resumption of alcohol sales for home consumption during level 3, limited to Monday to Thursday from 9am to 5pm.
As one of South Africa’s largest companies, sustaining a workforce of over 5000, SAB was appreciative of the efforts by government and various industry bodies to collaborate to ensure that the required specific measures for taverns, wineries, and microbreweries were in place for safe trading to resume on June 1, the company said in a statement.
“The industry has collectively collaborated on various solutions and measures to ensure that, beginning 1 June, outlets are able to trade responsibly and adhere to strict Covid-19 safety protocols, ” SAB vice president of corporate affairs Zoleka Lisa said In the statement.
As most of the world transitioned to contactless dining and shopping, South African businesses were gearing up for the same reliance on technology to bridge the gap between consumer and product.
“As an industry, a lot of thought has been put into ensuring that retail outlets like taverns, microbreweries, distillers, and wine sellers are included in the regulations, and that the tavern space, with the right support is recognised as one in which trade can happen safely. This will minimise the risk of spreading Covid-19, while still allowing for economic activity to resume,” Lisa said.
To prioritise the safety of customers and retailers, and to support government’s efforts to contain the spread of Covid-19, SAB had put certain measures in place for taverns.
These included physically equipping traders for consumer contact. Public safety and the containment of the spread of the virus was a primary concern, alongside ensuring that tavern owners were allowed to return to trade.
To ensure that the return to trade was done as safely as possible, SAB would distribute personal protective equipment (PPE) such as cloth masks, face shields, and hand sanitisers to taverns nationwide. This PPE would allow for high levels of sanitation in taverns, and had proved to be a tried and true method of stopping the spread of the virus.
Education about Covid-19 was critical to changing consumer behaviour, which would ultimately lead to a "flattened curve and allow us to beat Covid-19". To this end, SAB was committed to ensuring that taverns were educated about the importance of responsible drinking and the "dos and don’ts" of trading during the Covid-19 pandemic, Lisa said.
SAB would distribute educational videos and infographics with important information about how to trade considering the Covid-19 threat, and the importance of responsible consumption.
A large part of containing Covid-19 lay in restricting human contact as much as possible, which had been the most difficult part of managing the pandemic. In this respect, SAB had worked on an innovative initiative to limit contact while still facilitating trade. "Click and Collect" was a USSD model available to SAB's partners and their customers that was easy to use and very cheap.
To use Click and Collect, a customer simply had to enter the unique USSD code (*- - -#), select the products they wanted from the tavern they would like to collect from, and a timeslot in which they would collect.
Smart phones were not needed for this technology, and timeslots allocated facilitate only a limited number of people for proper social distancing. On arrival, the collector would be asked to present their ID and the confirmation message they received on their cellphone after the order was placed.
“As South Africa resumes the sale of alcohol in level 3, SAB would like to remind traders to adhere to all safety protocols when making sales to the public, and for consumers to practice responsible and moderate drinking in the safety of their homes. Our collective participating in adhering to these regulations and guidelines will be critical in the country’s fight against Covid-19,” said Lisa.
African News Agency (ANA), editing by Jacques Keet