The Liquor Traders Council has warned its members not to drop their guard against Covid-19 and to continue enforcing mask wearing, social distancing and proper hygiene. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)
The Liquor Traders Council has warned its members not to drop their guard against Covid-19 and to continue enforcing mask wearing, social distancing and proper hygiene. Picture: Doctor Ngcobo/African News Agency(ANA)

Liquor traders warned to be wary over Covid-19 safety

By Sisonke Mlamla Time of article published May 17, 2021

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Cape Town - The Liquor Traders Council has warned its members not to drop their guard against Covid-19 and to continue enforcing mask wearing, social distancing and proper hygiene as the number of infections show a worrying upward trend.

National Liquor Traders Council convenor Lucky Ntimane said the council had been working closely with the liquor industry to drive maximum compliance with Covid-19 safety protocols among taverns and their patrons.

Ntimane said that included hiring Community Policing Forum members to enhance safety in and around taverns, and conducting inspections to check on compliance with Covid-19 protocols and liquor licence conditions.

“The government has a record of imposing bans on alcohol as a first resort, without providing the evidence to show why this is the most effective measure available," he said.

Ntimane urged decision-makers to be open with the public about the reasons and evidence for the measures they take, so they could have confidence that they were the best available options.

During Premier Alan Winde’s regular online news conference, provincial Head of Health, Dr Keith Cloete, said the basic issue of an increase in cases was related to behaviour associated with gatherings, and especially indoor gatherings.

"We know gathering outdoors is a much lower risk, so it's gathering indoors," said Cloete.

He said that if one thought of all the behaviours that were associated with indoor gatherings, and no doubt if people drank alcohol in that setting, it had an influence on the way they related to one another, and they would often let their guard down.

"So that we know for a fact, and it would contribute to the increase in cases," said Cloete.

Business Leadership South Africa (BLSA) said it had noted with concern the increase in Covid-19-related hospital admissions and positive tests in other provinces.

BLSA said that suggested that the country faced a third wave of the pandemic, which would require interventions to reduce the risk of transmission of the disease.

“Alcohol sales bans have been studied, and the impact on both the health-care system and virus transmission has been questioned.”

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