A graffiti consisting of the text "Stay Home" and a symbolic novel coronavirus has been sprayed on the ground in Munich, Germany, Monday March, 16, 2020. Berlin has closed all Bars and pubs because of the corona virus outbreak in Germany. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)
A graffiti consisting of the text "Stay Home" and a symbolic novel coronavirus has been sprayed on the ground in Munich, Germany, Monday March, 16, 2020. Berlin has closed all Bars and pubs because of the corona virus outbreak in Germany. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia. (Sven Hoppe/dpa via AP)

SA alcohol industry donates 40 000 litres pure alcohol to fight Covid-19

By Sizwe Dlamini Time of article published Mar 23, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – South Africa’s alcohol industry, upon recognising the acute shortage of pure alcohol to produce hand and surface sanitisers, announced on Monday that local pure alcohol producers committed to immediately donate 40 000 litres of 96 percent pure alcohol for production of sanitisers.

The SA Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA), the Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) and Vinpro, said in a joint statement that more member-companies were in consultation to approve further release of pure alcohol free of charge which would increase the stated donation.

“We strongly believe that through informed, decisive leadership, and collaboration across sectors, that we will be able to turnaround the spread and the impact of Covid-19 in our country. We are always committed to responsible commercial conduct, but more especially now when our country needs us most.

“We hereby pledge to stand with the Government and people of South Africa in a national response to the outbreak of COVID-19, reads the statement.

The industry expressed its support for the decision taken by the government under the National Disaster Act to restrict hours for the sale of alcohol to between 9am and 6pm from Monday to Saturday and to between 9am and 1pm on Sundays and public holidays as well as the limitation of number of people to less than 50 per outlet.

It said this was but one of the measures that should limit social contact and potentially contribute to reducing the rapid spread of the virus. “In that regard, we will as much as possible support our customers to comply with the newly promulgated regulations for sale of alcohol.”

The statement reads:

“We … are collectively concerned about the outbreak of Covid-19 globally and in our country, South Africa.

“We are gravely worried about the impact that this outbreak has already had on the personal health and wellbeing of the people of our country and the world. The outbreak of Covid-19 brings with it a significant negative economic impact on what was already a very constrained economic climate in South Africa. We would like to play our role in minimizing the impact on the people of SA and help to drive economic recovery into the future.

“As the industry, we fully support the measures taken by the government to contain the spread of Covid-19, including the declaration of the State of Disaster by the President under the National Disaster Management Act.

“As an industry with thousands of people in our employ, one of our immediate interventions against the outbreak of Covid-19 has been to protect the health and welfare of our employees and their families. Wherever possible and practical, office-based employees have been allowed and encouraged to work from home or remotely to minimise exposure to potential infection.

“In production, logistics and other areas where remote work is not possible, we have put in place protocols for infection control, detection and management of all suspected or confirmed cases of Covid-19. We have in addition, instituted “temperature testing” at our sites …

“Many of our brands sponsor sports, entertainment and other social events in Sout Africa. We have cancelled events where there could have been more than a 100 people, in line with the presidential directive for social distancing.

“Our experiential and product tasting facilities that contribute to encouraging local tourism have been closed. We also support measures to increase awareness and modify behaviours that increase the possibility of infections. We have sent communication to traders to:

  • Encourage social distancing during the limited hours of trade
  • Raise awareness of the risks and discourage mouth-to-mouth sharing of drinks containers, glasses/cups and/or eating utensils

“Furthermore, our Easter season campaign against drinking and driving led by AWARE.ORG in partnership with RTMC will integrate the messaging on Covid-19 to further raise awareness.

“Outside of the stipulated trading hours for on-trade, home consumption remains the safe preferred option for many consumers who would like to have a moment to enjoy alcoholic beverages in a responsible manner. We would like to work with government to ensure the security of supply of both locally produced and imported beverages. The same collaboration is needed for stability of export activities as South Africa is a net-exporter of alcoholic beverages and a major contributor to global supply of particularly wine.

BUSINESS REPORT

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