The Botswana Alcohol Industry Association (BAIA) is satisfied with the new alcohol trade regulations that amongst others allow alcohol to be sold on a take-away basis, four days of the week beginning June 3, 2020.
All eyes, including of parched drinkers, were on BTV, Sunday afternoon, 4pm precisely, when Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Peggy Serame addressed the nation on the new regulations. The only downside of Serame’s announcement, however, was when she said that alcohol would not be sold on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays.
“On Wednesday to Friday alcohol outlets will trade from 10am to 6pm while on Saturday the outlets will be open from 10am to 4pm. All alcohol is sold on take-away basis except for restaurant sit-ins,” she announced. While she encouraged home delivery of alcohol where applicable, Serame said online sales would fall under the stipulated trading hours.
The minister added that the sale of traditional beer remained closed for the next three months and alcohol will not be sold at night clubs. Serame said people will only be allowed to consume alcohol at their homes and will be prohibited to do so anywhere else.
First to respond to the good news was BAIA chairperson, Mothusi Molokomme who told The Monitor they were happy because part of what the minister announced was what they suggested in their proposal last month. “The trading times are exactly what we put forward to the minister because we believed that a compression of trading hours encourages crowding, which puts social distancing at risk,” he said.
He disclosed that their proposal included trading hours on Saturday coupled with no trading on Sunday and Public Holidays.
“Part of what we proposed was to have all channels integrated including bars because they were amongst the first outlets to be closed. So it was only proper to have bars included,” he said.
Molokomme added that the approach to have the alcohol trading outlets closed for three days was a start and for them, it is an acceptable decision looking at the current situation.
“It doesn’t stop here, but we will continue engaging the ministry going forward. The minister said trade licences would be suspended or revoked for those that do not follow the regulations therefore we will encourage traders along our value chain to exercise precaution. This is an industry that produces jobs so adherence is key. Even customers will be encouraged to follow the COVID-19 regulations and protocols as stipulated by the minister,” he revealed.