ramaphosa2News24Wire reports that the announcement President Cyril Ramaphosa of restrictions on alcohol sales over the Easter weekend has ended speculation about an outright ban, but the industry is concerned about the effect on retailers.

On Tuesday evening and amid concerns about a third wave of Covid-19 infections, Ramaphosa advised that alcohol trading would be restricted to onsite consumption at restaurants, shebeens and bars, and that retail sales would be stopped over the four-day Easter weekend. The government has been walking a tightrope, instituting lockdown regulations including restrictions on alcohol trading to ensure that infections stay low on the one hand, and keeping the economy open to preserve lives on the other hand. Sibani Mngadi of the SA Liquor Brand owners Association (Salba) said: "In our view, from where we were last week, [the restriction's] a reasonable outcome that considers the general interest of the country in terms of economic activity, as well as tourism and other things that need to recover at this point." But Mngadi added that, at some point, the state needed to have a discussion with the industry about the rationale behind the restrictions for retailers and the impact the restrictions have had. He said that consultations between the government and the industry needed to be improved and that there needed to be an alignment between the two parties on the requirements to minimise infections. Meanwhile, the government's move to allow onsite consumption to continue was welcomed by the country's eating establishments, which previously said a lot of business was lost when establishments couldn't serve alcohol.


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