Alcohol industry needs a more predictable Covid-19 strategy from government

From brewers such as SA Breweries and Heineken to retailers such as Massmart and Pick n Pay, executives listen to the speeches not knowing if key parts of their business will be allowed to trade the next day, or failing that, what kind of restrictions they will be subjected to.

It’s a layer of uncertainty no industry should have to deal with, especially with no prospect of compensation from the government to soften the blow. The time has come for the government to have a more predictable regime as this ongoing uncertainty isn’t compatible with increasing investment and boosting employment.

There will have been considerable relief that Ramaphosa refrained from an outright ban on alcohol sales this week. The president prudently went against the advice of the government’s scientific advisers, acknowledging the need to protect livelihoods, the economy and lives. Supermarkets and other businesses selling alcohol for consumption at home will only be allowed to do so from Monday to Thursday.

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