Alcohol industry issues stern warning to liquor traders who break Covid-19 rules

Issued by FTI Consulting on behalf of the SA liquor industry: 

The alcohol industry has acted swiftly and cancelled supplies to the 44 alcohol outlets in the Western Cape whose licences have been revoked by the provincial Liquor Authority for contravention of the Covid-19 and liquor trading regulations.

The alcohol industry has written to the owners of these outlets informing them of the decision to stop supplies until their licensing conditions have been changed by the Western Cape Liquor Authority.

South African Liquor Brandowners Association (SALBA) CEO Kurt Moore said, “The alcohol industry has taken a firm position on this: if a trader fails to comply with the regulations and loses their licence, collectively, we have agreed that we will stop servicing and supplying them.”

The industry has seen the devastating impact of the ban on the value chain. It has put in place responsible practices and forms of behaviour to trade responsibly to ensure we protect the livelihoods of many thousands of people across the industry’s value chain.

Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) CEO, Patricia Pillay said, “We are committed to continuing to work closely with the Government and traders to ensure compliance with the gazetted provisions. These rules include making sure they never exceed more than 50% of capacity in their outlets; to insist on facemasks, to obey the stated opening hours; and to not sell to visibly intoxicated customers, minors, or pregnant women.”

The alcohol industry has provided a hotline for traders and customers to report any breach of the regulations. The industry urges consumers to call the Consumer Goods Council hotline on 0800 014 856 to report any violation of the regulations. The tip-offs will be reported to the South African Police Service who will investigate, and individuals who are found to be breaking the law will be prosecuted. The manufacturers are promoting the hotline number on their websites and platforms and enhancing the responsible-messaging campaigns.

The industry is committed to partnering in a new social compact with the Government to save businesses and jobs in the sector. The sector has committed an investment of R150 million into direct harm reduction interventions and programmes over the coming year to assist the Government in dealing with the health and social burden of alcohol misuse.

“We call on the traders and consumers alike to abide by all the lockdown rules and make sure that the drinking occasions do not contribute to the spread of infections and unnecessary burden on the health system,” said Moore.

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