A consortium of Liquor Trader Associations on Monday called on government to allow township taverns to operate and to serve as alcohol collection points.
The organisation consists of associations of township-based taverns and shebeens representing more than 50,000 members.
The aim of their recommendation is to reduce the risk of customers overcrowding township retail outlets and reactivating a large proportion of the township economy.
President of the National Liquor Forum Winston Hector said with between 80% and 90% of alcohol sales in townships being driven by taverns and shebeens, only allowing alcohol retailers to open in level 3 lockdown would result in limited sales points.
He said these points would be inundated with customers eager to purchase.
“This mass descent on very limited stockists will result in non-adherence to social distancing measures and will no doubt undo much of the good work being done by government in its attempts to curb the spread of COVID-19 within townships,” Hector said.
Hector is also concerned about the huge financial consequences brought about by the lack of shebeen and tavern sales on the permit holders and operators and their staff.
“Our members have not been able to pay wages to their employees and to service other operating expenses in their businesses. Should the sale of alcohol continue to be suspended, many of our members may never recover post lockdown,” he said.
In addition, Hector said various alcohol bodies would provide support to members with training on how to maintain health and safety protocols of COVID-19, lockdown requirements, and free supply of personal protective equipment packages, including sanitisers, masks, and gloves.
“We are committed to working with our government in combating the scourge and associated stigma associated with COVID-19,” he said.