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booze sales under Level 3

SAB proposes solutions for booze sales during Level 3

The South African Breweries (SAB) has appealed to government to consider allowing for sufficient alcohol sales channels, as well as reasonable trading hours, as a precaution against people gathering in mass to purchase supplies.

An SAB statement says it remains steadfast in its commitment to helping reignite the country’s economy and protecting the livelihoods of the 250 000 people who depended on its value chain, while simultaneously ensuring that the strictest safety protocols were enforced to safeguard the nation’s health and well-being.

The beer economy was a strong engine of economic activity and could play a crucial role in supporting the economy and its recovery. As a business, SAB wants to ensure the safety of South Africans while minimising the risk associated with consumption of illegal concoctions and the commercial growth of an illicit alcohol network.

“We want to be part of the solution, and regard the proposals put forward by the business and the industry as having taken serious consideration to resuscitating our economy as well as ensuring that our customers and retailers remain safe,” SAB corporate affairs vice president, Zoleka Lisa, said in the statement.

During SAB’s numerous engagements with government, as a business and through the industry, the company had put forward several proposals outlining solutions it had considered to ensure that the regulated sale of alcohol was included in level three.

“In the government’s ‘risk adjusted strategy’, the sale of alcohol was to be considered in level three with restricted trading hours of three hours per day and for three days a week, which we believe will cause people to gather in masses which will contravene the government’s efforts to enforce social distancing to flatten the curve,” Lisa warned.

“We want to appeal to government that as they deliberate on the trade of regulated alcohol, they consider allowing for sufficient sales channels, reasonable trading hours, and number of days,” she said.

To prevent similar outcomes witnessed in countries such as India, the alcohol industry had proposed the opening of more legal channels on sufficient days and allowing adequate time to make purchases, while enabling consumers to maintain social distancing protocols.

SAB’s proposals include:

– Allowing licensed off-consumption outlets to sell alcohol subject to strict physical distancing requirements and within restricted hours of trade (Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm, Saturday 9am to 4pm, and closed on Sundays and public holidays).

– Allowing licensed on-consumption outlets to sell subject to the strict physical distancing requirements and within restricted hours of trade. This included granting a special dispensation for taverns to operate strictly as off-consumption outlets.

– Through the development of a “click and collect” model, 34 500 licensed taverns would be able to adhere to physical distancing protocols, as people would not be queuing to purchase.

“During this time we re-engineered our business and accepted a challenge to work with government and donated hand sanitisers, face shields, and face masks in support of our essential health workers. 

“It is important that a measured and balanced approach be considered as we prepare to move to level 3 to ensure that the safety of South Africans comes first and while simultaneously boosting the economy,” Lisa said.

Source: SAB

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