The Liquor Traders Association of SA (LTASA) has submitted a detailed plan to government outlining protocols around the sale of alcohol during lockdown.
The association, which represents 1,410 liquor stores that employ more than 14,000 people, recommended a system based on the surnames of consumers to maintain and ensure social distancing.
Here is what you need to know:
Sale of booze
By the end of May, some parts of the country are set to move to level 3 of the lockdown, which may permit more liberties, including the sale of alcohol.
However, according to the government regulations draft, level regulations only allow for the consumption of liquor from Monday to Wednesday and from 8am to 12pm. No final decision has been made yet as the regulations were just a draft.
Excessive queuing and looting
LTASA argued that limited trading hours could lead to excessive queuing and looting.
“Such limited days and hours will inevitably create a pressure-cooker situation where customers will stand in long queues in the streets, and will boil over into frustration and possibly violence and looting when 12pm arrives and they have not entered the premises yet.
“If trading were to be allowed from 9am to 6pm from Monday to Friday, and from 9am to 4pm on Saturday, this will reduce pressure. It would be socially and economically more beneficial from every perspective. Furthermore, this would spread the demand and allow for a gradual but consistent supply.”
LTASA proposed a new system in which alcohol is sold to consumers from Monday to Saturday and is based on the first letter of their surname.
All those whose surname starts with any of the letters between A to M will be allowed to purchase booze on Mondays and Wednesdays.
Those whose surnames start with N to Z would be able to purchase on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
All consumers would be allowed to purchase on a Friday and Saturday, irrespective of surnames. Customers would have to produce their IDs when purchasing between Monday to Thursday.
Restrictions on quantities of liquor products
LTASA said restrictions should be placed on the quantities of liquor products any customer can purchase as gatherings are not permitted and the sale is for household consumption only.
“If the limits are set too high, this will encourage the sharing of liquor by customers, in excess of their own consumption requirements.
“If the limits are set too low, this would inevitably lead to a customer returning to the store more often to purchase more liquor. By enabling a customer to purchase reasonably sufficient quantities, this will thus reduce repeat visits to stores by a customer, which would be beneficial in combating the spread of Covid-19.”
Five liquor items only
LTASA proposed that a consumer can purchase any five items of liquor only. One item is:
Beer or ready-to-drink product (example cider) non-returnable: one tray (24 bottles/cans);
Beer or ready-to-drink product (example cider) returnable: one crate (12 bottles);
Still or sparkling wine: one box (six bottles);
Boxed wine: one box;
Spirits/liqueurs or fortified wine: one bottle.