Industry organisation the Beer Association of South Africa (Basa) has welcomed the announcement by President Cyril Ramaphosa on November 11 that the restrictions on the off-consumption trade of alcohol would be lifted with effect from 00:01 on November 12, meaning that outlets will once again be able to trade during all licensed trading hours.
Over the past seven weeks (since the start of alert level one on September 21), licensed outlets have been allowed to sell alcohol for home consumption on weekdays from 09:00 to 17:00.
According to Basa, this has had a “devastating” impact on small businesses.
As a result of continued lockdown restrictions, 15% of craft breweries have been forced to close down over the past few months, it says.
“Many breweries that have managed to stay open have been forced to retrench staff, resulting in hundreds of job losses across the sector,” Basa says.
It also claims that restrictions have not been successful in stopping off-site alcohol sales over weekends in unlicensed establishments, but rather, that trade in alcohol shifted to the illicit black market.
“The lifting of the restrictions will therefore have a positive impact when it comes to safeguarding jobs and small businesses, as well as bringing in much-needed tax revenue into the fiscus.
"The beer industry will continue highlighting the importance of responsible and moderate alcohol consumption and preventing the spread of Covid-19 as we move towards the festive season. Our members are implementing a number of programmes to assist outlets across the country to trade responsibly and safely,” Basa says.
These programmes include providing training and guidelines to businesses on Covid-19 protocols and physical distancing; promoting ‘Click-and-collect’ digital platforms that allow customers to place orders via SMS and pick up their purchases at a designated time; promoting the toll-free hotline (0800 014 856) which citizens can call to report incidents of criminality linked to the sale and consumption of alcohol; and cutting off of the supply of alcohol to businesses whose licences have been revoked by provincial liquor authorities.
“We call on all liquor outlets and establishments to continue playing their part by enforcing the wearing of masks and social distancing in their establishments. We also call on consumers to drink in moderation and continue taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from Covid-19,” the organisation emphasises.