BASA welcomes the lifting of restrictions on off-consumption trade of alcohol

PRESS STATEMENT BY PATRICIA PILLAY  
CEO OF THE BEER ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA

11 November 2020

BASA welcomes the lifting of restrictions on off-consumption trade of alcohol

The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) welcomes the announcement by President Ramaphosa this evening that the current restrictions on the off-consumption trade of alcohol will be lifted at 1 past midnight on 12 November 2020, so outlets will once again be able to trade during all licensed trading hours. 

Over the past seven weeks (since the start of alert level one on 21 September 2020), licensed outlets have only been allowed to sell alcohol for home consumption on weekdays from 9am to 5pm. This has had a devastating impact on small businesses, including craft breweries that rely on off-consumption sales over weekends to keep their businesses afloat.

As a result of continued lockdown restrictions, 15%  of craft breweries have been forced to close down over the past few months. Many breweries that have managed to stay open have been forced to retrench staff, resulting in hundreds of job losses across the sector.  

We also know that the restrictions were not successful in stopping off-site alcohol sales over weekends in unlicensed establishments. Instead, the trade in alcohol shifted to the illicit black market, which has continued to trade seven days a week resulting in billions of Rands in tax revenue being lost.

The lifting of the current restrictions will therefore have a positive impact when it comes to safeguarding jobs and small businesses as well as bringing in much needed tax revenue into the fiscus. 

The beer industry will continue highlighting the importance of responsible and moderate alcohol consumption and preventing the spread of Covid-19 as we move towards the festive season. Our members are implementing a number of programmes to assist outlets across the country to trade responsibly and safely.

These include:

  • Providing training and guidelines to businesses on Covid-19 protocols and social distancing.
  • Promoting ‘Click-and-collect’ digital platforms that allow customers to place orders via SMS and pick up their purchases at a designated time.
  • Promoting the toll-free hotline (0800 014 856) which citizens can call to report incidents of criminality linked to the sale and consumption of alcohol.
  • Cutting off of the supply of alcohol to businesses whose licenses have been revoked by provincial liquor authorities.

We call on all liquor outlets and establishments to continue playing their part by enforcing the wearing of masks and social distancing in their establishments. We also call on consumers to drink in moderation and continue taking the necessary precautions to protect themselves and others from Covid-19.

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