Call to allow beer trade to resume during extended lockdown – under these conditions

The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) representing the Craft Brewers Association, Heineken and South African Breweries has called for the ‘off-consumption’ beer trade to resume after president Cyril Ramaphosa extended the country’s lockdown period by an additional two weeks.

This is a licence granted for the sale of liquor for consumption off of the premises where it is sold. These premises include liquor stores, distribution centres and wholesale entities.

The sale of alcohol during the national lockdown has been prohibited as the government tries to contain the spread of Covid-19. Police minister, Bheki Cele, has warned of heavy fines and jail time for those who flout the law.

The minister attributed the decrease in serious crimes over the lockdown period, to the non-sale of alcohol.

“I just hope that one day there will be no liquor. I don’t run the country but, what has happened when you look at the crime stats, for that fact that shebeens are closed, people are sleeping,” he was reported as saying.

BASA, however, warned of major job losses for its industry if these restrictions continue.

“In the last 15 days, we have had news of many beer outlets shutting their doors with several people being retrenched. With an industry that employs close to 250,000 people, these are many lives that are now being placed at risk.

“Secondary industries are also impacted by the shutdown i.e. glass and bottle manufacturers, print and design companies, transportation, retailers, equipment manufacturers, electricians, plumbers, farmers and many more,” BASA said.

The association said that crime is also steadily on the increase with businesses and depots being looted.

The association said it has made a number of submissions along with the other liquor associations to the president as well as minsters with proposals as to how to ensure the survival of the industry.

Some of these include:

1. Allowing licensed off-consumption outlets to sell beer subject to strict social distancing requirements and within restricted hours of trade.

2. Allowing licensed on-consumption outlets to be granted a special dispensation to operate strictly as off-consumption outlets subject to the strict social distancing requirements and within restricted hours of trade.

a. This includes Licenced taverns to support the township economy

3. Restriction on volumes sold per consumer to avoid irresponsible consumption

4. Placing hand sanitizes at outlets to ensure good hygiene practices.

5. Allowing for online ordering and delivery of beer with strict quantity controls in place

6. Restricted Hours of Trade:

– Between 09h00 – 18h00 on all weekdays;

– Between 09h00 – 16h00 on Saturdays; and

– No beer sales on Sundays and Public Holidays

“We believe our proposal balances both the need to mitigate health risks and preserving the stability of the legal beer industry and our business,” BASA said.

“As an association, we have made a commitment to work with SAPS and other law enforcement agencies to take swift action against any traders who do not comply with the regulations,” it said.

Read: Call to allow certain business sectors to reopen under extended lockdown

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Call to allow beer trade to resume during extended lockdown – under these conditions