Mixed reactions to easing alcohol sales restrictions during level 1

Cape Town – There have been mixed reactions to the easing of restrictions on the sale and trade of alcohol under the return to alert Level 1 regulations. Alcohol can now be sold according to normal liquor licence provisions, except during the new curfew hours of midnight to 4am.

The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance SA (Saapa SA) warned that the government may have moved too quickly.

Saapa SA director Maurice Smithers said the alcohol industry could be dealt a blow of a fourth ban should Covid-19 cases increase again.

“Public holidays are known to be times that people drink a lot. Public health practitioners and governments around the world and here in South Africa are talking about the possibility of a third wave of the pandemic. Saapa SA is concerned that again the government has moved too far too fast.”

Beer Association of South Africa chief executive Patricia Pillay welcomed the easing of restrictions.

“The announcement of the move to level 1 has been the very least the government could do to assist in the recovery of our industry following 19 weeks of restricted trade and the simultaneous increase in excise taxes by a rate that is 3.8% above inflation,” said Pillay.

Restaurant Association of South Africa chief executive Wendy Alberts said: “We’d like to give our extended thanks to President Cyril Ramaphosa as well as the various ministerial divisions for the advocacy in always keeping an interest in our industry open.”

Cape Town mayor Dan Plato said the new regulations will see the sector’s economy open up further.

“We welcome the relaxation of the curfew hours to help businesses in the hospitality sector continue their gradual recovery. As restrictions are being eased, we urge residents not to let their guard down. It is all our responsibility to continue adhering to the regulations to limit new infections as far as possible,” Plato said.

Good Party general secretary Brett Herron said: “We must learn from our experience last year when we moved to level 1 and some people acted irresponsibly. We were forced into a relatively hard lockdown just as our peak summer season coincided with a devastating second wave. A third wave is inevitable and it is vital that we improve our vigilant adherence to health and social protocols so that we mitigate the need for another hard lockdown.”

Original article here.