The National Liquor Traders Council (NLTC) has reportedly written a letter to the Presidency, requesting a meeting with President Cyril Ramaphosa over COVID-19 restrictions.
This comes as the third wave of COVID-19 makes its way across South Africa.
According to Fin24, the NLTC said they wanted a meeting with the president to discuss how to handle the third wave.
“The purpose of this letter is to seek to find sustainable solutions and support government efforts to combat the pandemic in every way possible. We call upon the president and his team to engage liquor traders, especially where any decisions taken have a potential impact on our businesses and ensure that any decisions taken are guided by scientific evidence,” read the letter.
“In our case, liquor traders can continue to operate, subject to fully complying with safe operating standards, in a way that was not always possible previously. Where restrictions in economic activity are required, these should be clearly explained with clear end dates.”
NLTC’s members operate 39 900 liquor outlets, 34 500 gardens, and 4 000 bottle stores which empty 282 000 workers.
Last week, the Southern African Alcohol Policy Alliance called for tough restrictions on the access of alcohol, as a move to respond to the threatening third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report by EWN said the alliance called on the government to strengthen the current alcohol restrictions and not wait until the health system became overburdened.
“The in and out of banning is not working, it’s causing a lot of economic pain for people,” the alliance’s director Maurice Smithers said.
IOL quoted Smithers as saying the government had some tough decisions to make to curb a resurgence in infections.
“Alcohol consumption should not aggravate the predicted impact of the third wave.
“We have seen the additional burden on the healthcare system caused by trauma cases related to harmful drinking, through car crashes, incidents of interpersonal violence, and gender-based violence,” said Smithers.
At the beginning of the pandemic last year, the government introduced strict restrictions on the sale of alcohol. This presented a challenge for producers, retailers, traders, clubs, bars and restaurants.