South African president rejects calls to lift alcohol sale ban amid COVID-19 outbreak

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South African President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night said alcohol sale ban will remain in place during the COVID-19 lockdown, since liquor is “in fact considered a hindrance to the fight against the coronavirus.”

Ramaphosa was responding to the Gauteng Liquor Forum, which threatened to take his government to the Constitutional Court if the ban on alcohol sale is not reversed.

The president “has carefully considered the representations made by the Gauteng Liquor Forum,” Ramaphosa’s spokesperson Khusela Diko said in a statement.

“As such, alcohol is not considered an essential good or item. It is in fact considered a hindrance to the fight against the coronavirus,” said Diko.

There are proven links between the sale and consumption of alcohol and violent crime, motor vehicle accidents and other medical emergencies, she said. And the country is now “at a time when all private and public resources should be preparing to receive and treat the vast number of COVID-19 patients.”

The spokesperson added that the forum’s proposal is not echoed by others in the industry, but “the president and government as a whole remain committed to financially supporting businesses in distress during this period.” Enditem

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