Taverners have thrown their weight behind the country’s bid to increase vaccination rates – especially among older men who are the most hesitant group – as they campaign to prevent any further bans on the sale of alcohol.
At a rally hosted by the National Liquor Traders (NLT) and the Concerned Tshwane Liquor Traders Association (CTLTA) in Mamelodi, Pretoria, NLT convenor, Lucky Ntimane, called on all taverners and shebeen owners to get vaccinated and encourage their staff and patrons to do the same.
“The lifting of the alcohol bans has been a huge relief to taverners and is helping us to get back on our feet and bring our employees back to work after the devastating restrictions on our trade over the past year and a half. We are saying there should be no more bans on alcohol because our members have suffered enough and we are urging them to make taverns safe by getting as many tavern and shebeen permit holders, employees and patrons vaccinated as possible,” said Ntimane.
Gauteng MEC for Economic Development Parks Tau said he was pleased to see liquor traders taking the lead in support of the vaccination programme and providing an example to their clients. “Vaccines are the best protection against Covid-19 and the more people we have vaccinated, the lower the risk of another devastating wave of Covid-19 infections. Vaccines will help to protect our families, our businesses and our jobs,” said Tau.
Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) CEO, Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, said a rapid vaccination rollout was the key to saving lives and rebuilding the economy.
“The TBCSA has been a key partner with the government in supporting vaccine registration and we’re happy to see liquor traders adding their voices to the call for people to get vaccinated,” Tshivhengwa said.
SA National Taxi Council (SANTACO) President Phillip Taaibosch said the taxi industry fully supported the vaccination drive because taxi operators were in constant contact with the public and had a high risk of exposure to Covid-19. We further support the call by liquor traders that there should be no more ban on alcohol. Let’s put this pandemic behind us as quickly as possible by all getting vaccinated,” Taaibosch said.
In addition to supporting the vaccination drive, the rally highlighted the need for maximum compliance to liquor licence conditions and Covid-19 safety protocols as the upcoming holiday season approaches.
Ntimane said it was critical that taverns and shebeens continued to be vigilant and ensure Covid-19 safety and liquor licence compliance.
“As much as we are enjoying the freedom to trade within our liquor licence conditions, we have a responsibility to keep our patrons and communities safe. We are grateful to all our partners who ensured that our Tavern Rally was a success, and we want to highlight particularly the role played by South African Breweries in ensuring that the vaccination drive was a success,” concluded Ntimane.