PRESS STATEMENT BY BEER ASSOCIATION OF SOUTH AFRICA
25 July 2021
Lifting of alcohol ban will offer a lifeline to thousands of businesses on the brink of closure
The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) welcomes the announcement by President Ramaphosa this evening that, from tomorrow, on-consumption sales of alcohol will be allowed seven days a week until 8pm, while outlets selling alcohol for home consumption can trade from Monday to Thursday between 10am and 6pm.
The reopening of the alcohol industry, after the latest four week ban, will offer a lifeline to thousands of businesses and their employees across the alcohol value chain including liquor stores, taverns, restaurants and breweries. This includes the 31 craft breweries that are on the verge of closure after having lost 161 trade days since March last year.
However, tonight’s announcement is cold comfort for many businesses that have not survived the alcohol bans that have been imposed over the past 16 months due to receiving zero financial assistance from government. It is therefore critical that those that have managed to stay afloat are still compensated through the Covid-19 Unemployment Insurance Fund Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).
BASA will also be writing to provincial governments to request that businesses that have their licences up for renewal be granted a grace period and payment holiday, in order to help them get back onto their feet over the immediate term.
The beer industry is also appreciative for the three month tax relief announced by the President this evening. The sector hopes that government will continue to engage with it regarding other proposals that will assist in rebuilding the industry after the four bans.
In order to ensure the long term sustainability of the alcohol industry, it is also crucial that the sector is proper consulted by government when it is considering new regulations to stop the spread of Covid-19. The President announcing an immediate ban on the legal trade of alcohol on a Sunday evening, without any prior warning or an opportunity to properly engage has caused untold economic damage to the industry and the one million livelihoods it supports.
BASA remains committed to working openly and transparently with government and rolling out reasonable interventions that can save both lives and livelihoods during the pandemic. This includes the use of click-and-collect platforms to assist in ensuring the safety of consumers, halting of sponsored events that encourage gatherings and enhanced adherence to safety protocols at all our outlets.
However, it is vital that proper consultation between government and the alcohol industry takes place moving forward. Most importantly, that government urgently shares the data and evidence on which it has based its decision to enforce four alcohol bans over the past 16 months. This is why BASA, along with other industry members, will still be submitting a Promotion of Administrative Justice Act (PAJA) application to the NCCC early next week.
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.
Nicole Mirkin (Press Officer)
084 552 3122