As liquor outlets open their doors on Monday following a nine-week ban on the sale of alcohol, industry captains including tavern owners have warned that stockpiling of beverages will not be allowed.
Beer Association of South Africa (Basa), Consumer Goods Council of SA (CGCSA), Consortium of Liquor Traders Associations (LTA), Liquor Traders Association of SA (LTASA), South African Liquor Brand owners Association (Salba) and VinPro (representing wine industry) have made it clear to consumers that they do not want a repeat of the chaos that ensued when President Cyril Ramaphosa initially announced the lockdown in March.
Droves of people stockpiled on essential goods, leaving shelves empty.
Speaking on behalf of traders and associations, Basa chief executive Patricia Pillay confirmed that no bulk-buying would be permitted.
She said all industry players had compiled their own guidelines on sales and sent them to Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma.
“They (guidelines) are designed to protect all staff and customers from the spread of the virus. We will need a collective to unite in our efforts to create a safe environment for all staff, customers, and others who may enter the outlets,” Pillay said.
She added that staff at these outlets would be expected to adhere to the basic hygiene criteria and to wash and sanitise their hands.
According to Pillay, the industry would self-regulate to limit the quantity of liquor available for sale in any transaction to support and promote responsible consumption.
“We have set up a hotline number (0800014856) for any incidents of criminality during this period,” said Pillay.
She added that most of the 34500 taverns had been provided with personal protective equipment to give to their customers.
The sale of alcohol would be permitted from Monday and Thursday between 9 am and 5 pm.
The Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance in South Africa has come out in support of the restrictions on alcohol sales.
Spokesperson Maurice Smithers said the level 3 measures must focus on the proper resourcing of monitoring and enforcement capacity, together with an efficient reporting mechanism for non-compliance.
“This is important to ensure that there isn’t a spike in liquor-related harms, especially as the easing of the ban on liquor will be accompanied by more movement in public spaces with people returning to work in most sectors of the economy.”