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.

Alcohol at Level 3: ‘Your last name may decide when you can buy booze’

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.
Source : The South African More   

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Makhura resigned to Gauteng missing out on Level 3 lockdown shift

Providing an update on progress made in Gauteng, Premier Makhura said that it was likely that the province would remain in Level 4.

Makhura resigned to Gauteng missing out on Level 3 lockdown shift

Gauteng Premier David Makhura is seemingly resigned to the fact that despite the announcement that the country would be shifting to Level 3 lockdown regulations at the end of May, Gauteng will remain on Level 4.

President Cyril Ramaphosa said on Wednesday 13 May that areas with high infection rates would have to be subjected to stricter regulations than those that have managed to keep the spread of the virus to an optimal level. 

Speaking at a press briefing on Thursday 14 May, Makhura said that the province was doing all it could to avoid surges in cases and shift to Level 3 as soon as is possible and safe. 

ICU patients being closely monitored

Makhura said that the province has 8 301 beds have been made available in private and public hospitals over the last two weeks, and that 1 600 beds will be added in the coming weeks at new facilities.

He said he is ensuring that personal protective equipment (PPE) is procured well in advance of a possible surge of cases, adding that the province is currently in possession of 11 million units of PPE, with increasing quantities being produced locally by township-based businesses.

“We are learning and preparing all the time so that we can save lives,” he said. “When we say they are ready, it means that this is the number we have should someone need hospitalisation.”

He said that there are currently 39 patients in private hospitals and nine in public hospitals being treated for the virus, with two people being closely monitored as they receive treatment in ICU. 

“We watch them very closely because the next death that occurs is likely to come out of those [kind of] cases,” he said of the ICU patients, who are being supported by ventilators. 

“Since the begin of patient zero we have had 303 patients in private and public hospitals in Gauteng.” 

Transport, retail agencies cooperating

Makhura said that progress was being made to stem the spread of virus through efforts to engage with shopping mall managers and transport bodies. He said that both had offered great assistance and were helping to reduce contact between residents. 

“When we think of the townships, we think of where the infection rate is high risk. We are focussing on the malls and have identified them in townships where larger numbers of people interact.”

“We have met with mall managers in Gauteng and are now enforcing that every mall has a compliance officer and that every manager takes responsibility for the stores. They must ensure social distancing in the shops and that everybody only comes in when they have a mask.”

He said that taxi associations had been extremely cooperative and had been ensuring the safety of passengers. 

“The public transport system is vulnerable because that is where people come into contact. From the Gautrain to the taxis, we are working with them and focussing on them.” 

“The Gauteng taxi associations are really cooperating with us to keep the taxis sanitised and make sure that everyone is required to wear a mask.”

Food parcels now being properly distributed

Makhura also provided an update on feeding programmes, saying that 103 767 food parcels have been distributed in the province and that they have been able to impact the food security of half a billion people. 

He said that homeless people are being included in the feeding scheme, with 3 251 people receiving meals. 

“Shelters are assisting homeless people to be trained in skills to enhance their employability and earn incomes for themselves,” he added. 

He said that roadblocks in the province were doing much more than simply facilitating law and order, with medical personnel on hand to conduct screening and testing. 

“We continue to do screening and testing at roadblocks, they are not just for policing and enforcing regulations. Our healthcare workers are helping police and this is why our screening numbers are so much bigger [than other provinces].”

Source : The South African More   

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