Concern over Cape Town bars flouting Covid-19 lockdown regulations
Cape Town - The recent incident in which 63 partygoers were infected with Covid-19 has raised concerns that bars and taverns are flouting lockdown restrictions and are not ensuring the health and safety of their patrons.
Those who contracted the virus at a night club in Claremont, an event dubbed a “super spreader”, are in matric.
National Liquor Traders convener Lucky Ntimane said: “We are concerned by reports of various liquor traders not adhering to the Covid-19 regulations governing the sale of liquor. Outlets that fail to observe the basic protocols of Covid-19 in their business operations really put an unnecessary focus on the industry that has been at the forefront of supporting government initiatives in fighting the Covid-19 pandemic through investments in the health sector.”
Ntimane said steps against outlets not adhering to regulations would be taken.
“Outlets should operate in line with their licence conditions and Covid-19 regulations, and failure to do so leaves us with no choice but to call for necessary laws to take their cause.”
Preliminary data indicated that of the 63 cases detected to date, 37 were matric pupils who attend various schools in the southern suburbs, most of them private schools.
Under level 1 of the lockdown restrictions nightclubs are prohibited from operating. However, pubs and taverns are allowed to operate under stringent health protocols. The alcohol industry, in particular, has been the hardest hit through the lockdown regulations, and there are fears that “super spreader” incidents could set the industry back.
South African Liquor Brand owners’ Association chief executive Kurt Moore said: “As an industry, we are deeply concerned about the surge of Covid-19 infections.
“However, any additional restriction on sales, including an outright ban, shorter trading hours or further restrictions on trading, would likely increase panic buying and overcrowding at retail outlets, which would increase the risk of transmission of the virus.”
Premier Alan Winde has called for an investigation into the incident.
“Indeed, while we have passed our peak in the Western Cape, we must not let our guard down. As long as there is even one Covid-19 infection, it will be possible for the virus to spread to other people. The virus is still out there, and it remains important that we keep ourselves safe.
“It is possible that we will also experience a new wave of infections in the future, as is being witnessed elsewhere in the world. This will be detrimental to our efforts to grow the economy, save jobs and address our humanitarian crisis. By staying safe, we move forward,” said Winde.