The Sale of Alcohol, Cigarettes and Fast Food During the Lockdown will be up for Discussion this Week

There is a plan underway by the government to breathe life back into South Africa’s economy and to avoid any more job losses following the outbreak of the coronavirus.

This follows the extension of the nationwide lockdown by a further two weeks in an attempt to curb the spread of the virus. 

There will be a discussion by the national command council to alleviate some of the restrictions placed during lockdown according to The Sunday Times. These discussions will include lobbies made by the alcohol and tobacco sectors as well as hearing the call to reopen fast food shops.

It is expected that the results of these discussions will be taken to cabinet later this week where several proposals will be tabled including a comprehensive financial package that is looking at how to scale up the essential goods production.  

The Call to Sell Beer

The Beer Association of South Africa (BASA) who represents South African Breweries has called for the reopening of off consumption beer trade. 

This means that a licence is granted for the sale of alcohol for consumption off of the premises where it is sold. Such premises include distribution centres, liquor stores and wholesale entities.

If the restrictions continue, then there could be major job losses for the industry warned BASA. 

Over the last 15 days, there has been news of many beer outlets shutting doors with several people being retrenched. The industry employs almost 250 000 people, who are now at risk. 

The shutdown also affects secondary industries like glass and bottle companies, retailers, transportation, print and design companies, equipment manufactures and so on. 

There has been several submissions made by the association along with other liquor associations to the president as well as ministers with proposals as to how to keep the industry surviving. 

This includes off-consumption outlets to be able to sell beer, which will be under the requirements of social distancing and for trade hours to be restricted. As well as allowing on consumption outlets to be able to trade as off consumption outlets through the use of a special dispensation, who will also need to adhere to social distancing requirements and with restricted trading hours, which will also include the licenced taverns to support the township economy. 

To put into place restrictions on volumes sold per consumer, placing hand sanitizers at outlets, allowing for the delivery of beer online with quantity controls in place and restricted hours of trade. 

Call to Reopen Some Business Sectors

The South African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Sacci) has called for the reopening of certain business sectors. 

The business body has a membership of about 20 000 small, medium and large enterprises, who commended the president on his leadership and management of the current crisis. 

However, Sacci has suggested a staggered return to business beginning with businesses that can display a high level of health control and social distancing, for instance, the Fast Food Outlets (FFOs) industry. 

More than 150 000 people are employed by FFOs in South Africa. Alan Mukoki, Sacci chief executive officer said that many businesses will likely close down and as a result, there will be major job losses. He went on to say that to protect the SA economy from a total collapse we need to look beyond the lockdown as the only option. 

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