People brave the cold in long queues for alcohol: 'We are thirsty'

Patrons buy alcohol in Tembisa
Patrons buy alcohol in Tembisa
Image: Thulani Mbele

"We are tired of drinking umqombothi, we have been very thirsty" shouted a group of patrons at the Spar Tops in Tembisa as hundreds lined up outside as early as 7am to buy their favourite alcoholic drinks.

As the country moved to lockdown level 3 regulations, allowing for the purchase of alcohol people flooded liquor shops waiting in long queues. "I have been here since 7am. I have been very thirsty. I last drank three weeks ago, a friend brought beer, I didn't care where he got it from, I just wanted to drink, said Tshepo Sibeko, 27.

Another excited patron said they were very happy that the regulations are allowing for the purchasing of alcohol. "I'm very happy that the government is allowing us to buy alcohol, alcohol has nothing to do with the coronavirus because unlike cigarettes it doesn't affect your lungs, but I'm very happy. People are depressed and scared of this coronavirus, but after this the mood in the country will change," said a patron who didn't want to be named.

Customers were seen pushing trolleys of alcohol and some carrying boxes to their cars. Those overly excited would lift their beverages in triumph shouting "finally".

Although social distancing was difficult to adhere to, security guards were hands on, trying to encourage patrons to keep two metre distance between each other. A staff member from Tops said: "We are trying to manage the crowds and have security guards helping to keep the social distancing between our customers. We are not allowing people without masks to enter".

Meanwhile, at a Makro Liquor store in Pretoria customers queuing outside were heard singing "Sangena Sangena- we are entering"

Alert level 3 regulations allow for people to purchase alcohol between 9am and 5pm from Monday to Thursday. People can order online for delivery between the same stipulated times.

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