- President Cyril Ramaphosa will be addressing the nation on Sunday evening on the Covid-19 crisis
- Ramaphosa is expected to be announcing changes to the current lockdown restrictions on alcohol
- However, the industry warns that citizens will be prompted to panic buy if Ramaphosa clamps down on booze
President Cyril Ramaphosa will be addressing South Africa on the latest government interventions amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
A Special Cabinet meeting was held ahead of his address to discuss the measures set to be revealed later this evening.
One of the expected announcements is a possible change to alcohol restrictions which have already been met with fierce resistance.
The Beer Association of South Africa and other industry leaders cautioned that a new ban will affect the income of up to a million citizens. A statement read that:
"After an initial liquor stock-up that lasted two weeks, liquor sales have started slowing recently and the share of spend has dropped to below what it was last year."
The statement also warned that panic buying ahead of a new ban being reinforced could lead to a further spike in infections.
News24 reports that SALBA CEO Kurt Moore had also weighed in on the expected announcement:
"As an industry we are deeply concerned about the surge of Covid-19 infections, however, any additional restriction on sales, including an outright ban, shorter trading hours or further restrictions on trading, would likely increase panic buying and overcrowding at retail outlets, which would increase the risk of transmission of the virus."
Earlier this week, Briefly.co.za reported that Health Minister Dr Zweli Mkhize had asked the National Coronavirus Command Council to consider returning the prohibition.
Mkhize had noted increased pressure on the health care sector due to liquor-related trauma cases, a critical development at a time where every hospital bed is needed to treat Covid-19 victims:
"When there was a lockdown, it was quite clear that casualty departments did not have a lot of pressure. We have now been receiving in this hospital, and many other hospitals, lots of complaints about that fact that the alcohol-related trauma is causing a lot of pressure."
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