Mbabane: Booze ban has been lifted
Acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku has announced that the sale of alcohol will be allowed with effect from March 22, 2021.
Masuku announced that liquor outlets can operate from Monday to Thursday between 9am and 5pm. However, he highlighted that alcohol consumption remains strictly for home consumption.
Reacting to the acting PM’s statement Liquor Association Secretary Thami Hlatshayo said it was indeed great news that finally government considered allowing the sale of alcohol.
However, he said the industry has been closed for the longest time, therefore it is carrying heavy debts and thus operating from Monday to Thursday will not help them break even and service their debts as the sector does not get good sales on weekdays but only on weekends.
Hlatshwayo said this will make the black market to thrive as it will continue to make a fortune by selling alcohol on weekends.
Hlatshwayo highlighted that the association embraces the decision by government and will adhere as guided by government to reopen the industry that has been closed for the longest time.
On another note, the acting Prime Minister encouraged imbibers to exercise caution as they indulge in their favorite drinks by ensuring that they do not, under any circumstances, share their drinks.
Masuku said drinking in groups was prohibited as these small gatherings can become super-spreaders of the virus. “We should continue to exercise caution even as we enjoy our alcoholic beverages. Our security services will be vigilant in cracking down the illegal sale and consumption of alcohol”, he said.
Worth noting is that government placed that ban of alcohol early January as means to curb the spread of Covid-19 second wave which saw a surge in cases. The industry has for the longest time been closed as government has always alleged that drinking spots were super spreaders for the Covid-19 virus.