Fake news alert: Liquor sales will not be suspended this week

STATEMENT BY ALCOHOL INDUSTRY

It has been brought to our attention that numerous messages are doing the rounds on social media and on WhatsApp, which state that liquor sales will once again be banned this week. The industry has not received any information from Government suggesting any review of the current Level 3 regulations which allow for limited sale of alcohol for off-consumption.

The spokesperson for the Ministry of Cooperative Governance which is in charge of the National Disaster Act is quoted in the media as stating that this is fake news.

Since the resumption of liquor sales under alert level 3 of the lockdown from 1 June 2020, the members of the alcohol industry have continued to engage closely with the national government to ensure the safe and legal reopening of the sector.

This has included the industry committing to a set of guidelines to ensure the responsible trade of liquor and reduce the spread of Covid-19. These guidelines set out strict protocols to ensure proper hygiene and social distancing in outlets; the distribution of PPE packs and educational material to taverns; limits on quantities available for sale in a single transaction and that responsible alcohol consumption and Covid-19 messaging is spread across industry media platforms.

The industry also committed to setting up a toll free hotline (0800 014 856) for incidents of criminality linked to the sale and consumption of alcohol during the lockdown. The hotline is administered by the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa who will liaise with law enforcement on cases reported.

The industry, remains committed to working with government to address any contraventions of the lockdown regulations and ensure the safe and responsible trading and consumption of liquor during the Covid-19 outbreak.

We call on all South Africans to refrain from spreading fake news. Not only is it a criminal offence it could lead to panic buying of alcohol, which will undermine safety and social distancing measures implemented at outlets.

We urge consumers to comply with all the rules governing Lockdown Level 3 and drink responsibly at home.