South African liquor traders said that they could not afford another alcohol ban as the coronavirus fourth wave loomed.
The sector has been hit hard by continuous alcohol bans to curb the spread of the virus over the past year.
And, with the holiday season approaching, traders are pleading with government to exercise caution in responding to the fourth wave.
The National Liquor Trader’s Lucky Ntimane said that science should prevail in government’s future response in dealing with COVID-19.
He said there was a fear among liquor traders that a ban on alcohol was looming and said that the economy could not afford another ban, let alone further restrictions on alcohol sales.
“We have always maintained that lives can not be saved at the expense of livelihoods,” Ntimane said.
They are also calling on the president to talk to the alcohol industry to explore sustainable means of fighting COVID-19 without subjecting those dependent on the alcohol industry to poverty.
“The alcohol industry has been the hardest hit by government decisions to ban alcohol done by the COVID-19 pandemic itself but we need to caution government that there is no vaccine for poverty,” he added.
He said that vaccinations were key to managing the pandemic and that they would support government efforts in getting people vaccinated.