Liquor industry stakeholders have reportedly called for a “swift response” before a potential third wave of the coronavirus. But, they say, that should not include any bans on the sale of alcoholic drinks, reports said on Friday.

The warning comes as President Cyril Ramaphosa’s cabinet is set to meet and discuss the possible introduction of a higher lockdown level over the Easter weekend period.

The government was advised earlier this week to go on a stricter lockdown level, as a precautionary measure for the Ester holiday.

Chairperson of the Ministerial Advisory Committee on COVID-19 said gatherings and festivities during the period could result in increased COVID-19 numbers.

But according to Business Insider, the liquor industry said the government should instead lengthen curfew, and reduce the number of people allowed to gather, ahead of the Easter weekend.

The stakeholders said in a joint statement that restrictions on liquor should be reserved “only if hospital capacity becomes severely stretched”.

They also said that any curfew measures and alcohol restrictions, if they are introduced should still allow off-premises sales to allow for home consumption, BusinessTech reported.

“We do not think that a total ban on alcohol sales will be a solution either in the short or long term.

“A complete shutdown of liquor sales would mean an end to the tartan market and the 250 000 direct jobs linked to the sector,” they said.

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