The National Liquor Traders’ Council (NLTC) says although it welcomes the partial lifting of the ban on the sale and transportation of alcohol, it will take the liquor industry a long time to recover its losses.
The council’s spokesperson, Lucky Ntimane says, “The summer period represents almost 80 percent of annual sales of liquor traders, so because we were not able to fully participate in that space it means that we have to play catchup…”
“We haven’t been operating for almost 18 weeks since lockdown started, but in the last lockdown we haven’t operated for almost 35 days its going to be very difficult for us. Our main worry is that the 260 000 jobs that are linked to the tavern sector will not be fully absorbed back into the fold,” adds Ntimane.
Wine industry body, Vinpro, on the other hand says while it welcomes the partial lifting of the alcohol ban, it is still going ahead with its court case to force the government to make the industry its priority.
The matter is set to be heard in the High Court in Cape Town on Friday.
In a statement, Vinpro says it is concerned about the long-term sustainability of the wine industry due to the impact of repeated alcohol bans.
It says businesses have not been able to earn any income from local wine sales for 20 weeks since March 2020, leading to overall losses of R8 billion in direct sales.
The industry employs 27 000 people.
Level 3 regulations of the national lockdown eased:
President Cyril Ramaphosa made the announcement on the partial lifting of the ban on the sale and distribution of alcohol after the country recorded the lowest daily increase in coronavirus infections on Monday.
The number of new cases recorded is 2548 in the past 24 hours, bringing the cumulative number of infections to 1 458 309, 235 people succumbed to COVID-19 related complications, putting the national death toll AT 44 399. The recovery rate now stands 1 306 22.
Ramaphosa’s announcement ends one of the country’s most contested bans on liquor sales that saw South Africa’s biggest beer maker South African Breweries (SABS) head to court to contest it.
In his address, Ramaphosa said a strong indication that the country has passed the peak second wave of coronavirus infections motivated the adjustments to the level 3 lockdown.
“Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will be eased. The sale of alcohol by licensed premises will be permitted from Mondays to Thursdays from 10 am to 6pm duty free shops, registered winery, wine farms, microbreweries and micro distilleries will be able to sell alcohol for offsite consumption during their normal operating hours from 10am to 10pm.
President @CyrilRamaphosa: Restrictions on the sale of alcohol will be eased. The sale of alcohol by licensed premises for off-site consumption will be permitted from Mondays to Thursdays, from 10am to 6pm. pic.twitter.com/Ln2xBTctlD
— Presidency | South Africa ?? (@PresidencyZA) February 1, 2021
Alcohol industry’s expectations from President Ramaphosa’s nation address on Monday: