After 66 days of prohibition, alcoholic drinks will go on legal sale on Monday
FOR ONCE, South Africans will be looking forward to a Monday. But Tuesday may not be that great, as many South Africans could possibly wake up with hangovers.
After 66 days of prohibition, alcoholic drinks will go on legal sale in two days’ time. And scores of people are expected to flock to their nearest liquor outlets to stock up on their favourite beverages.
This comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa’s announcement last Sunday that retailers will be able to sell alcohol “under strict conditions on specified days and for limited hours” when Level 3 comes into effect on Monday.
Not only will liquor stores be open, but bars, taverns, and licensed restaurants have also been given the nod to sell booze, on a takeaway basis, and hours of sale will be much longer than had once been planned.
The sale of liquor will be permitted from Monday and Thursday between 9am and 5pm.
Liquor outlets in the country say they are expecting a high influx of customers from Monday.
The manager of a branch of popular liquor outlet Solly Kramers says it has been preparing for the high demand for the past month.
“We’ve been working remotely and preparing for Level 3 for about three weeks now,” said Caren Munzer, creative manager.
“Suppliers will start delivering stock from Saturday (today). However, we do have stock in our warehouse which will be utilised for the initial demand of orders.
“We have put systems in place for online orders and walk-in customers to keep the positive momentum.”
Munzer says the store is confident of meeting the high demand.
The liquor outlet has also put in place safety measures to ensure customers and staff are safe as there were no legal measures by government to prevent crowds at liquor stores.
The government could hold the liquor industry accountable for preventing overcrowding.
“Our first priority was to make sure that the staff were educated on the symptoms they should look out for and precautions that they need to take once they return to work,” said Munzer.
“We have a no mask, no entry policy. Our staff temperatures are taken every morning and hands sanitised as they enter work.”
Safety screens at the tills points have also been installed and only 20 customers will be allowed into the store at a time with floor decals to keep a two-meter distance between customers, Munzer said.
Pick n Pay Liquor says it too is anticipating huge numbers of customers.
“We are working hard with our suppliers to secure enough stock to meet the demand,” said John Bradshaw, retail executive for marketing at Pick n Pay.
“Our supply chain is ready to restock stores daily to keep shelves full.”
Bradshaw adds that all liquor stores will follow strict safety measures.
“The number of customers allowed in the stores will be limited and customers will be asked to adhere to the floor markers at all times to maintain safe physical distancing. Hand sanitiser will be available and masks must be worn at all times.
“All till points, we will have Perspex screens and ‘scan & pay’ technology so that customers can make contactless payment. All stores will be cleaned even more rigorously, including sanitising all till points after each transaction.”
The Shoprite Group, which owns Checkers Liquor, says it is prepared for scores of shoppers.
“Stores are receiving deliveries ahead of Monday’s permitted reopening and preparations are well under way to manage the expected influx of customers,” the group said.
“We are working closely with suppliers who have assured us that there is sufficient stock available. We have increased our demand planning for the anticipated influx and stores are receiving deliveries ahead of Monday.”
The group insists it is determined to keep its staff and shoppers safe and have added security measures to ensure that a limited number of people are allowed in the store at a time.
“Since the start of the coronavirus outbreak, the Shoprite Group has proactively acted to safeguard our employees and customers and we will continue to do whatever is within our power to protect their well-being and health.”
Other measures include the use of sanitisers and masks for staff and customers and other personal protective equipment such as face shields.
They have also adjusted their queuing system, which will be set up and managed outside each store.
“Where necessary, a snake-type passage will be set up to assist with social distancing requirements.”