Last night President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that South Africa’s Covid-19 status would move from Level 3 to an Adjusted Level 2 as from 13 September 2021.
View the latest regulations here. The main implications for wine-related businesses include:
- The national curfew will apply from 23:00 to 04:00.
- Restaurants, cinemas and other places open to the public need to close by 22:00 to enable staff to return home before the curfew starts.
- The number of persons allowed at gatherings have been increased to 500 persons outdoors and 250 indoors, or 50% of the venue’s capacity, whichever is less.
- Accommodation facilities may operate at full capacity.
- The time frame to sell liquor for off-site consumption has been extended to include Fridays. Liquor may now be sold for off-site consumption from Monday to Friday, 10:00 to 18:00.
- Liquor may be sold for on-site consumption any day up to 22:00, subject to licencing conditions.
- Wine farms and micro-breweries may sell liquor for on- or off-site consumption up to 22:00 any day of the week, subject to licencing conditions.
- Liquor may be transported.
“We welcome the easing of restrictions that will have a positive effect on wine tourism, a subsector that has been hit especially hard by previous restrictions. These include an increase in the allowed capacity and longer trading hours at restaurants, as well as an increase in the number of persons allowed at gatherings, as we are entering a busy period for weddings and other events that are a good revenue source for many wineries,” says Vinpro MD Rico Basson.
“However, we still believe that liquor sales should be fully reopened – including sales for off-site consumption over weekends – subject to licencing conditions, and according to strict Covid-19 health and safety protocols. This taking into account the state of infection figures and hospital capacity, but also research that clearly shows that the restriction of the licensed channel merely promotes illegal trade that is not properly policed and accounts for 22% of the total alcohol sales volume in South Africa,” Basson says.
Government has once again used a “blanket approach” with regard to liquor sales restrictions. “We strongly believe and will continue to argue that a differentiated approach is needed, which allows for a greater degree of decision-making at provincial level, based on empirical data. In this regard, Vinpro still awaits the outcome of our court case that was heard in the Cape High Court on 23 to 26 August 2021, after judgment has been reserved, ” Basson says.
Vinpro is working closely with other industry partners on various actions and solutions that can stabilise and rebuild the South African wine industry. “The responsible production, marketing and consumption of our products remains a priority for us to recover completely from the third wave so that our industry can fully reopen. Please therefore continue to wear your mask, wash your hands, maintain social distance and have yourself vaccinated,” Basson says.
tel: +27 (0)21 276 0429
Vinpro, Cecilia Street, Suider Paarl, 7646