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South African government retracts tweet over alcohol ban

Published:  22 July, 2020

The South African government has attempted to clarify confusion over a tweet from its official Twitter account that said the ban on the sale of alcohol would remain in place throughout the lockdown period.

In a follow up tweet, it stated: “This account posted a tweet which said that the ban on the sale of alcohol and cigarettes would remain in place throughout the lockdown period. This is incorrect. The sale of alcohol and tobacco products is prohibited under the current Level 3 regulations.

“This decision may be reviewed at any time by the relevant structures should the conditions which necessitated it change. We regret any confusion the tweet has caused.”   

The ban, the second introduced as a result of the pandemic, was announced 13 July and came just weeks after another three-month ban was lifted.

The country’s health department stated that “by limiting alcohol-related hospital visits and admissions, we are limiting exposure to and transmission of Covid-19. A ban on alcohol will also have an impact in terms of reducing the burden on primary care and private facilities”.

The reinstated ban was the latest blow to the already hard-pressed SA wine industry, which has suffered severely as a result of the government banning exports of wine and spirits at the beginning of April as part of strict lockdown measures. 

The exports ban was lifted at the beginning of May as the country eased its measures. 

The industry greeted the renewed ban on alcohol sales with dismay, with Vinpro describing the government-imposed clamp down as a “devastating blow” when it was announced earlier this month. 

In more positive news, earlier this week it was revealed that equality in the South African wine industry had taken a leap forward with 94 students from disadvantaged backgrounds having passed their exams to become qualified sommeliers.