Liquor traders to target men at taverns to get Covid-19 vaccinations

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Pretoria, South Africa Men who frequent bars will be targeted by national liquor dealers, who have promised to take the lead in vaccination following President Cyril Ramaphosa's decision that an alcohol ban will not be imposed.

"We will continue to push males, who make up the bulk of our clients, to vaccinate as we all seek a speedier and more sustainable route out of this epidemic so we can return to our regular lives," said Traders' co-ordinator Lucky Ntimane.

This was in response to Ramaphosa's recent decision not to ban alcohol sales.

Ntimane, on the other hand, stated that the tavern industry wants Ramaphosa to keep the status quo "while alternative sustainable measures of controlling Covid-19 are sought to complement vaccinations."

Traders, he said, were determined to taking the lead in Covid-19 vaccines.

"There is no doubt that the alcohol sector has been affected the hardest by lockdowns and unjustifiable prohibitions that are not based on research or basic sense.

"While we welcome President Ramaphosa's announcement to maintain the status quo, we believe that humane interventions should be considered in the future to deal with Covid-19 bar, which is causing abject poverty in the lives and livelihoods of those who rely on the alcohol industry." "According to Ntimane.

He urged the government to work with the alcohol industry "so that we can look at alternatives to alcohol bans exactly because alcohol bans have not been demonstrated to be an effective approach to limit Covid-19."

Ntimane also cautioned against generating "a second epidemic – destitution – amongst liquor sellers" if other options were not explored.

"It is well known that there is no relationship between Covid-19 and alcohol, and as we have always stated, trying to restrict alcohol to manage Covid-19 is similar to chopping someone's head off because they have a headache," he added.

Alcohol prohibition, he claims, has the potential to destroy a sector that employs over 250 000 people and has 34 500 bars and shebeen licence holders.

He reaffirmed the liquor industry's commitment to assisting the government in combating the Covid-19 epidemic through immunization and the promotion of non-pharmaceutical measures.

"As liquor retailers, we will continue to host tavern rallies across the country where vaccinations will be administered as we take the lead in the fight against this pandemic, and we will continue to encourage our patrons to vaccinate as this is the safest and most scientifically proven method of combating Covid-19," he said.

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