South Africa: After Two-Month Lockdown, Residents Line Up to Purchase Liquor Stock

Inside the Constitutional Court (file photo)

Durban residents desperate to quench their booze thirst lined up from early morning on Monday to get their stash, now that the sale of alcohol is allowed again on Level 3 of the Covid-19 lockdown.

Government removed its ban on liquor sales on Monday under Level 3 of the lockdown, but alcohol can only be consumed at home.

News24 visited liquor stores around the city and found one of the longest queues on Argyle Road Liberty Liquors, where hundreds gathered from before sunrise. This despite government saying liquor sales would be allowed Monday to Thursday from 09:00 to 17:00.

Pam White, a resident of the Morningside area, said she did not realise the hard lockdown would last as long as it did.

"Since lockdown [Level] 5 we have not consumed. If we knew how long it was going to take, we would have bought a lot more alcohol before it started. I don't see any harm in drinking alcohol. If you overdo it, it can be dangerous for drivers and whatnot, but not in moderation, like we do."

She said they would purchase whiskey, beer and wine.

Nomzamo Hope Dlamini, 21, from KwaMashu said the easing of liquor regulations was the right move from government.

"I personally feel like the government did a good thing by easing things. Not me personally, but some people can't live without alcohol."

She said the ban during lockdown Level 4 and 5 meant those with a dependence on liquor could negatively affect those around them.

"For some people, no alcohol leads to emotional and mental stress. This can lead to physical and mental abuse."

Dlamini said she hadn't had any alcohol for a month.

"I want to have a mini-party with my family. What's a party without alcohol? I'm getting Castle Lite, Flying Fish and Brutal Fruit and Vodka."

Greenwood Park resident Michelle felt there was no reason to ban alcohol during the lockdown.

She admitted to purchasing some alcohol illegally, but said under level 3 "this was an opportunity for us to get stock".

She said President Cyril Ramaphosa "did a wonderful thing" allowing the sale of alcohol.

"But he will need to close it. He had to give the people a chance to buy what they can but this will cause havoc. It will increase stats three times as much. I came for a couple of crates of beer and a couple of straights to say I have something. If it closes again at least we have something."

Source: News24

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