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Mkhize: Not yet time to lift ban on alcohol sales

Health Minister Zweli Mkhize said that the ban had assisted in opening up facilities to caring for COVID-19 patients and it was not yet time to resume the alcohol trade.

FILE: Health Minister Zweli Mkhize addresses a media briefing on 13 July 2020. Picture: @DrZweliMkhize/Twitter.

DURBAN - Health Minister Zweli Mkhize is calling for a continued ban on the sale of alcohol.

However, this comes as various stakeholders in the liquor industry called for the resumption of alcohol sales, saying that this would assist in keeping their businesses afloat after only trading for three months last year.

Mkhize said that the ban had assisted in opening up facilities to caring for COVID-19 patients and it was not yet time to resume the alcohol trade.

Liquor industry players, including the South African Beer Association, South African Breweries and the South African Liquor Brands Association, said that they supported measures to curb the spread of COVID-19, including the curfew and reduced trading hours and days.

However, they are against the outright ban on the sale of alcohol due to the economic devastation linked to this.

Mkhize said that it was not yet time to lift the ban.

"Hopefully, that's going to continue for a while that we get this space to be able to manage people who are under the pressure of COVID-19, so we will then continue to monitor the situation and see when there would be the need to change the restrictions that have been put in place."

Mkhize said that the ban was reducing pressure on the healthcare system as it was decreasing trauma cases linked to car accidents and alcohol induced-brawls.

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