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Drinkers Struggle To Adapt To New Normal

PINI BOTHOKO
Distancing challenges: Drinkers are still adjusting to the new normal
With the lifting of the alcohol ban, drinkers are flocking to watering holes in numbers.

However, they have a new challenge.

Imbibers are finding it difficult to move away from old drinking habits to the new normal of social distancing.

Alcohol traders are allowed to sell liquor, but under the strict coronavirus (COVID-19) regulations that include reduced operating hours.

Customers are expected to buy and head home to enjoy their beverage, but most are struggling to adapt.

Botswana Police Service public relations officer, assistant commissioner, Dipheko Motube expressed his concerns of the behaviour.

He said consumption of alcohol should be strictly from home, but there are a number of drinkers who still hang around bars and other liquor outlets after purchasing their drinks. Motube said they do not adhere to social distancing.

He added, in a span of six days, between June 22 and 27, they fined 75 people for drinking alcohol in prohibited areas. He said some were found drinking in front of bars.  “Alcohol consumption during social distancing appears to be a challenge for drinkers. It seems like people cannot move away from their old habits despite COVID-19 regulations put before them by the government,” he said.

Motube requested the public to adhere to COVID-19

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regulations, as there have been growing cases of non-compliance in other areas.

“We have recorded 30 cases of brewing and illegal sale of alcohol in homesteads and 167 cases of failure to wear a mask. It is of great concern that people continue to disobey COVID-19 regulations despite our continuous efforts to sensitise the public about the dangers of the virus,” he said.

Motube warned that the police would not hesitate to deal with offenders. He noted restrictions on the sale of alcohol has given birth to illicit brews, with people consuming the products at shebeens.

“Illegal sale of home-brewed alcohol remains a challenge. We have observed that there are some bar owners who opt to sell alcohol at their homesteads after closure of bars something, which is against the law. We will continue to charge those who disobey the law because the message is clear,” Motube said.

He also said the use of masks in public still remains a challenge, particularly in remote villages.

“Putting on a mask in public is compulsory and we will continue to charge people until they adhere to the regulation,” he said.



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