MINISTER of Police Bheki Cele and commissioner Khehla Sitole destroy booze confiscated during previous lockdown levels Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency
MINISTER of Police Bheki Cele and commissioner Khehla Sitole destroy booze confiscated during previous lockdown levels Photo: Ayanda Ndamane/ African News Agency

Level 2: Alcohol industry breathes a sigh of relief

By Se-Anne Rall Time of article published May 31, 2021

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DURBAN – The alcohol industry has breathed a sigh of relief following Sunday night's family meeting in which President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the country's move to an adjusted level 2 – but did not mention further restrictions on booze sales.

The Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) said it welcomed the interventions put in place by the government to curb the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.

"We do not have the option of another hard lockdown. The restrictions imposed by last year’s lockdowns, combined with the outbreak of Covid-19, resulted in South Africa’s worst economic retraction in over 90 years. This included the three blanket bans on alcohol, which had a devastating impact on our local beer industry, with over 7 400 jobs lost, R14.2 billion in lost sales revenue and more than a R7.8bn loss in taxes and excise duties," Basa said.

Basa said, along with the broader alcohol industry, they were committed to working with government to mitigate the impact of the third wave of infections.

"Everyone needs to play their part when it comes to employing non-pharmaceutical measures to mitigate the effects of a third wave over the coming months. This will require every citizen taking individual responsibility for their own health and safety as we await the mass roll out of vaccines," the association said.

The National Liquor Traders Council has called on outlets to remain vigilant and adhere to Covid safety regulations.

The council's Lucky Ntimane said they were calling on everyone to comply.

"We know there are rotten apples that seek to not abide by the Covid-19 protocols. But it is our responsibility to report such establishments," he said.

In his address to the nation last night, Ramaphosa said there has been an average of 3 745 new infections daily.

"The provinces of Free State, Northern Cape, North West and Gauteng have reached the threshold of a third wave of infections. It may only be a matter of time before the country as a whole will have entered a third wave," he said.

South Africa's move to an adjusted level 2 means:

– The hours of curfew will start at 11pm and end at 4am.

– Non-essential establishments like restaurants, bars and fitness centres will need to close by 10pm. This is to allow their employees and patrons to travel home before the start of the curfew.

– All gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 100 people indoors and 250 people outdoors.

The country’s latest Covid-19 statistics show that 3 755 new cases of the virus were reported on Sunday and 76 new deaths. The latest data from the National Department of Health showed that the cumulative number of Covid-19 cases identified in South Africa as of May 30, was 1 662 825.

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