'Don't drop your guard': Liquor traders plead for compliance over fear third wave could lead to booze ban

'Another ban would put many taverns out of business for good,' National Liquor Traders Council spokesperson Lucky Ntimane said on Wednesday

Amanda Khoza Presidency reporter
Liquor sellers are hoping a third wave of Covid-19 infections will not mean a third ban on selling alcohol. Stock photo.
Liquor sellers are hoping a third wave of Covid-19 infections will not mean a third ban on selling alcohol. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf/Jakub Godja

The National Liquor Traders Council on Wednesday called on South Africans to keep following Covid-19 rules and regulations to avoid another hard lockdown, as the number of infections begin to show an upward trend.

“Another ban would put many taverns out of business for good,” said council spokesperson Lucky Ntimane.

The council has urged citizens to “not drop their guard” and emphasised the importance of wearing masks, social distancing and hand sanitising.

Ntimane said the council has been working closely with the liquor industry to drive maximum compliance with Covid-19 safety protocols at taverns and with their patrons.

“The industry has really pulled together to improve behaviour so we can continue to trade safely and protect our livelihoods, while ensuring we support government efforts to minimise the Covid-19 risks and the affect of the looming third wave,” said Ntimane.

He said tavern owners and shebeen permit holders had taken “a beating” from the three bans on alcohol — “and we’re doing everything in our power to help prevent a third wave of Covid-19”.

“Many people are tired of the Covid-19 restrictions and want to go back to ‘normal’ life, but we can’t let our guard down now. This is a lot like the period just before the second wave, when complacency set in, with fatal consequences,” said Ntimane.

“It would be a tragedy if we allowed a third wave to take hold as a result of complacency, just as an accelerated vaccination programme seems within reach.

“We call on the government to provide vaccines for all as quickly as possible to save lives and allow the economy to remain open.”

In addition to an accelerated vaccine rollout, Ntimane said restrictions on large gatherings were the most effective way of limiting the spread of the virus.

“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. We urge decisionmakers to be open with the public about the reasons and evidence for the measures they take, so we can all have confidence that they are the best available options.

“If there is one lesson we’ve learnt from Covid-19 it is that we depend on each other to survive. If we build on these partnerships between industry, township entrepreneurs and government, we can defeat Covid-19 and emerge stronger as we rebuild our economy.”


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