Click-and-collect & at-home consumption: Here are some of the proposals for lifting the booze ban
Various proposals have been made to the government to lift the ban on liquor sales and distribution under level 3 lockdown.
The booze sales ban was put in place just days before New Year’s Eve, when President Cyril Ramaphosa announced the move from lockdown level 1 back to adjusted level 3.
It is set to be reviewed on January 15, when other regulations will also be reviewed.
This week, the liquor industry was vocal about the ban, saying it was of grave concern and calling for a review as soon as possible.
Here are some of the proposals that have been made for lifting the alcohol ban:
Craft Brewers Association
The Craft Brewers Association SA (CBASA) issued an urgent call to Ramaphosa to lift the ban.
The association said the third ban was devastating to craft brewers and other small businesses financially, resulting in some brewers dipping into their savings.
“It is now no longer a question of keeping businesses open — it has become a question of whether business owners, their employees and families will have any food to eat this month,” said CBASA CEO Wendy Pienaar.
The association proposed that alcohol be sold through safe alternatives, such as the use of click-and-collect platforms to assist in ensuring the safety of consumers.
Other proposals mooted by the association include:
- the current evening curfew from 9pm-6am should remain in effect;
- the 8pm closing time for businesses should continue; and
- the ban on gatherings should continue, alongside increased policing and enforcement.
Liquor Traders Formation
The Liquor Traders Formation (LTF) proposed that the government permit the sale of alcohol for at-home consumption, subject to limitations.
According to a SABC report, LFT said it will support government efforts to stem the spread of Covid-19 as it will encourage the consumption of liquor at home while ensuring the livelihoods of liquor traders.
The LTF has also called for the government to consider a moratorium on licence renewals and linked fee increases for a period of not less than one year and that a financial package be offered to all liquor traders to cover their non-trading losses to the value of not less than R20,000.
SA Breweries (SAB)
SA Breweries (SAB) proposed a list of actions it believed would both save lives, and breathe life into the economy. The proposals include:
- restrictions on trade channels;
- moving taverns from on-licence to off-licence trading;
- closing bars, but allowing takeaway drinks; and
- restrictions for trading days and hours at all off-licence premises.
“SAB has formed part of the fabric of SA for the last 125 years and we've stood behind the nation through its triumphs and challenges. After much consideration, SAB has decided to approach the courts to challenge the constitutionality of the decision taken to re-ban the sale of alcohol,” said the company.
“This legal action is the last resort available to SAB in order to protect our employees, suppliers, customers, consumers and all the livelihoods we support.”
Actress and gin producer Khanyi Mbau also proposed that the government look at another strategy, instead of banning alcohol sales completely.
“The reason that I'm raising this is because it's January - schools are about to reopen, there are families, people that work in the liquor industry who cannot go back to work, earn a living to support their families and make sure that their children go to school,” said Mbau in a video posted on Twitter.