The South African government said Feb. 1 that it will partially lift its latest ban on alcohol sales, effective Tuesday, Feb. 2, according to a foreign news report. The new regulations allow for retail sales from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday and on-site consumption in restaurants, bars and tasting rooms, allowing for opening from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Wineries and wineries will also be able to sell out-of-home wines during normal business hours.
Image courtesy of: wineinfo.com
With 290,000 people working in the wine industry in South Africa, generating a total annual economic income of 55 billion rand (about $3.6 billion), the South African government has dealt a heavy blow to the country"s wine industry since March 2020, when it issued as many as three bans in 2020 due to the New Crown epidemic.
The first prohibition included a ban on all alcohol sales and alcohol shipments, and continued to allow only basic services, initially excluding essentially completed grape harvests, and the export of 45% of South African wine sales until May 1, when wine export restrictions were relaxed.
Sales of alcoholic beverages that were banned prior to June 1 resumed sales with restrictions: retail sales could only take place between 9:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Thursday. This relaxation of the ban lasted until July 12, when a second ban on the sale of all alcohol was reinstated due to a sharp increase in hospitalizations related to the new crown outbreak.
The situation in hospitals eventually eased as daily morbidity rates dropped and recovery rates improved, and many were relieved when the ban on the sale of alcoholic beverages was lifted again on August 15. As a result of these two bans, the South African wine industry alone, including the wine tourism industry, lost 7 billion rand (about $464 million) directly.
In December 2020, a new variant of Covid-19 began raging in South Africa, leaving the country's National Disaster Management Council with no choice but to impose its third ban of the year, which began on Dec. 28.
The impact of South Africa's ban has been widespread, from grape growers and producers to distributors, retailers and even suppliers, such as those manufacturing or selling machinery, bottles, caps and even wine labels, have been affected by the ban and many wine companies have closed down as a result.
Wines of South Africa (WOSA) said: "2020 has become one of the most challenging years in our history, but despite this, we have learned to adapt and explore innovative ways to interact with our partners.