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NGO calls for liquor outlets to be closed at 6pm during Easter holidays

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According to the organisation, the Easter break is a potential catalyst for a third wave of Covid-19.

According to the organisation the upcoming Easter break, is a potential catalyst for a third wave. File image. Picture: Garima Agarwal

CAPE TOWN – The non-profit group Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance (Saapa) says liquor outlets should be closed by 6pm over the Easter holidays.

According to the organisation, the Easter break is a potential catalyst for a third wave of Covid-19.

“We are concerned about the upcoming Easter break,” said Maurice Smithers, the director of Saapa. “The key message that needs to get out is that these are exceptional times and exceptional steps must be taken.There needs to be a clear understanding by churches that they cannot have mass gatherings.

“As far as alcohol is concerned, our position over the festive season would apply here too – that alcohol outlets should all be required to close at 6pm on April 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5. This limits the possibility of alcohol-fuelled social gatherings. People can buy alcohol, but consume it at home. This will stop alcohol contributing to spreading the virus and prevent hospitals being swamped with alcohol-related trauma cases,” said Smithers.

Epidemiological experts have also warned of super-spreader events over the Easter weekend as a potential catalyst for a third wave which would hit closer to May/June.

“The concern with Easter holidays is that there might be an increase in movement, which can increase spread of the virus, and also Covid-19 fatigue, with people becoming less compliant, can be a concern,” said senior researcher at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, Dr Ridhwaan Suliman in an interview on Jacaranda FM.

As of Tuesday night, South Africa had a collective number of over 1.5 million positive cases of Covid-19.

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