Home South African Push for Ramaphosa to allow ‘off-consumption’ beer trade to resume

Push for Ramaphosa to allow ‘off-consumption’ beer trade to resume

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Association deeply concerned about the number of retrenchments resulting from restrictions on the alcohol trade

THE BEER Association of South Africa (BASA), representing the Craft Brewers Association, Heineken and South African Breweries, has called for the resumption of the “off-consumption” beer trade to “save the industry”.

This is a licence granted for the sale of liquor for consumption away from the premises where it is sold, which includes liquor stores, distribution centres and wholesale entities as well as online platforms, which will limit travel. 

Championing their cause under #SaveBeer, BASA is deeply concerned about the number of retrenchments resulting from restrictions on the alcohol trade. It has also pointed out that crime is on the rise, with increasing reports of liquor stores being looted.

The sale of alcohol has been forbidden during the lockdown, which was extended for two weeks on Thursday, as the government tries to contain the spread of Covid-19, with a warning of heavy fines and jail for those who disregard the law.

Whether they are likely to succeed is doubtful as the decrease in serious crimes over the lockdown period has been attributed to the sale of alcohol being prohibited. Also, trauma units, which are usually burdened with alcohol-related cases, especially on weekends, have been free to focus on Covid-19 cases 

BASA said in a statement: “In the last 15 days, we have had news of many beer outlets shutting their doors, with several people being retrenched. With an industry that employs close to 250 000 people, these are many lives that are now being placed at risk.

“Secondary industries are also impacted by the shutdown, i.e. glass and bottle manufacturers, print and design companies, transportation, retailers, equipment manufacturers, electricians, plumbers, farmers and many more.”

BASA’s proposals include:

* Allowing licensed off-consumption outlets to sell beer subject to strict social distancing requirements and within restricted hours of trade.

* Allowing licensed on-consumption outlets to be granted a special dispensation to operate strictly as off-consumption outlets subject to the strict social distancing requirements and within restricted hours of trade. This includes licensed taverns to support the township economy.

* Restriction on volumes sold per consumer to avoid irresponsible consumption.

* Placing hand sanitisers at outlets to ensure good hygiene practices.

* Allowing for online ordering and delivery of beer with strict quantity controls in place.

* Restricted hours of trade: Between 9am and 6pm on weekdays; and between 9am and 4pm on Saturdays; and no sales on Sundays and public holidays.