The tourism sector has welcomed the partial lifting of the ban on the sale and transportation of alcohol and the shortening of the curfew under the Adjusted Alert Level 3 Lockdown restrictions.
President Cyril Ramaphosa announced this last night after the country recorded the lowest daily increase in coronavirus infections.
The sale of alcohol from retail outlets will be permitted from Monday to Thursday between 10am to 6pm.
Curfew is now from 11pm until 4am.
Onsite consumption in restaurants and taverns will be from 10am to 10pm, as seen in the tweet below:
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
Beaches, dams, public swimming pools, recreational parks have also been reopened.
Tourism Business Council of South Africa CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, says this is a welcome relief for the industry.
“From the restaurants side, we can be able to trade longer hours and we can be able to trade on alcohol. It means that a lot of people that have been sitting at home can be able to go back to work and also that will impact on the hotels, accommodation premises where they have a liquor licence. They should be able to also trade the same hours as the restaurants which is a big positive,” says Tshivhengwa.
The National Liquor Traders’ Council says although it welcomes partial lifting on the ban, it will take the liquor industry a long time to recover its losses.
“The summer period represents almost 80% 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. It’s 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,” says the council’s spokesperson, Lucky Ntimane.
Impact of alcohol ban across industries
The tourism and hospitality industries have been the hardest hit by the alcohol ban.
People are anxious about the survival of their businesses because of the loss of income endured throughout the various alcohol bans.
In Soweto, restaurants lamented being dealt a double whammy with the alcohol ban, coupled with load shedding.
Restaurant owners in the area say they’ve lost 80% of patrons since the alcohol sale ban was effected in late December last year: