Alcohol at Level 3: ‘Your last name may decide when you can buy booze’
Welcome to Level 3: A leading liquor association has proposed that those whose last names start with a letter between A-M should buy their alcohol first.
The Liquor Traders Association of South Africa (LTASA) believe they have made the government an offer they simply can’t refuse. The group, which operates more than 1 400 stores, have submitted their proposals to the relevant authorities as they bid to put alcohol back on the shelves in time for lockdown Level 3 – and our last names may have a big say in when we can go and get the goods…
The proposals to bring back booze revealed
The current framework for Level 3 restrictions do allow the sale of booze, but only at limited hours. For the regions of South Africa likely to move forward a lockdown phase by the end of May, they would only be able to go and purchase ale during a 12-hour window across three days – it’s something the LTASA want to alter:
“Such limited days and hours of Monday to Wednesday from 8:00 to noon will inevitably create a pressure-cooker situation where customers will stand in massive queues in the streets, and will boil over into frustration and even possible violence and looting.”
“If trading were to be allowed from 9:00 to 18:00 on Monday to Friday, and from 9:00 – 16:00 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 the gradual but consistent supply.”LTASA proposals
Alcohol at Level 3: If these proposals are accepted, your last name could determine when you get to buy liquor…
And, if that proposal grabbed your attention, you’re going to love what comes next. The Association has also come equipped with a plan to help ease the gathering of crowds once liquor stores can open their doors again – if LTASA gets their way, the days you can buy alcohol will depend on the first letter of your last name.
The left-field idea would subject the drinkers of South Africa to an alphabetic lottery of sorts: Furthermore, the group suggests that this policy could be enforced by doing on-the-door ID checks and allowing all of their 14 000 registered employees back to work as soon as possible. Here’s what they want to see:
- On Monday and Wednesday of each week: Only customers with last names A to M will be permitted to purchase liquor.
- On Tuesday and Thursday of each week: Only customers with last names N to Z will be permitted to purchase liquor.
- Then, on the Friday and Saturday of each week: All customers will be permitted to purchase liquor
- Every customer to present his or her ID for security to check. Additional security will be in place to check such IDs, control and allow access and manage queuing.
- Full staff complement (excluding staff over 60 years old and those with Covid-19 comorbidities) to manage such initial surge in demand.
- High-risk customers that our employees identify, or that identify themselves, will receive priority service.
Level 3 alcohol: How much is too much?
However, there’s still more to come on this brilliant problem-solving adventure: Government guidelines also suggest that “quantitative measures” must be in place when alcohol goes back on sale during Level 3. LTASA’s solution? Well, it’s a case of finding the “Goldilocks” zone…
“Restrictions should be placed on the quantities of liquor products that 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. Enabling customers to purchase reasonably sufficient quantities, will reduce repeat visits to stores, and would be beneficial in combatting the spread of COVID-19.”LTASA statement
When will liquor go back on sale in South Africa?
LTASA conclude their proposals by setting out their ideal rules and regulations for alcohol sales, which will hopefully come into play during the transition to Level 3 at the end of May: Each transaction would be limited to a maximum of five items selected from the following categories:
- 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 (6 bottles)
- Boxed wine: One box
- Spirits/liqueurs or fortified wine: One bottle
- Any combination of items can be purchased, but no more than five items in total (being either five items from just one such category or one or more items from any or all of such categories provided that no more than five such items in total may be so purchased).
- At lockdown Levels 2 and 1, pre-lockdown legislation will apply as per normal, lifting restrictions on alcohol purchases.