Liquor traders to target men at taverns to get Covid-19 vaccinations
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Pretoria - Men who are patrons at taverns would be targeted by the national liquor traders, who vowed to take a lead in vaccination following an announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa to not impose alcohol ban.
Traders' co-ordinator Lucky Ntimane said: "We will continue to encourage men, who make up the majority of our patrons, to vaccinate as we all seek a faster and more sustainable way out of this pandemic so we can return to our normal lives."
This was in reaction to the latest move by Ramaphosa to stay away from restricting alcohol sales.
Ntimane, however, said the tavern sector wanted Ramaphosa to maintain the status quo "whilst other sustainable means of containing Covid-19 are explored to complement vaccines".
According to him, traders were committed to taking a lead in Covid-19 vaccinations.
"There can never be any doubt that the alcohol industry has been the hardest hit when it comes to lockdowns and unjustified bans which were not rooted in science nor common sense.
“Whilst we welcome the announcement by President Ramaphosa to maintain the status quo, we feel that humane interventions need to be considered in future to deal with Covid-19 bar subjecting the lives and livelihoods of those dependent on the alcohol industry to abject poverty," Ntimane said.
He pleaded with the government to engage with the alcohol industry "so we can look at alternatives to alcohol bans precisely because bans on alcohol have not been proven to be an effective measure to contain Covid-19".
Ntimane further warned against creating "a second pandemic - poverty – amongst liquor traders" if no other alternatives can't be explored.
"It is common knowledge that there is no link between Covid-19 and alcohol and as we have always said, trying to ban alcohol to manage Covid-19 is akin to cutting one’s head off because they have a headache," he said.
Banning alcohol, he said, has the potential to destroy a sector which comprised 34 500 taverns and shebeen permit holders and accounts for over 250 000 workers.
He reiterated the commitment by liquor traders to supporting the government's efforts to fight the Covid-19 pandemic through vaccination and promotion of non-pharmaceutical interventions.
"As liquor traders we will continue to host tavern rallies across the country where vaccinations will be administered as we take a lead in the fight against this pandemic, and we continue to encourage our patrons to vaccinate as this is the surest and scientific proven method to fighting against Covid-19," he said.