Gaborone — Batswana on afternoon of May 31 took to social media to display a mostly enthusiastic response to Minister of Investment, Trade and Industry, Ms Peggy Serame's announcement that the sale of alcoholic beverages would resume on Wednesday June 3.
Those who imbibe liquor toasted Ms Serame for pronouncing that they now had the opportunity to quench their thirst for their favourite beverages during the two-month moratorium on alcohol sale, which was part of restrictions aimed at curbing the potential spread of the corona virus.
The minister however, stressed that both liquor traders and consumers needed to continue to act in a responsible manner and observe all current COVID-19 health protocols.
"All liquor outlets licensed under the Liquor Act of 2008 as well as restaurants governed by the Trade Act are now allowed to sell alcoholic beverages under the new prescribed conditions," Ms Serame revealed. These outlets include bars, bottle stores, wholesale liquor stores, liquor distributors, liquor restaurants, liquor as well as hotels, depots and temporary liquor licence holders.
She said the sale of alcohol would be on take away basis for all establishments, except liquor restaurants where customers would be permitted to consume alcoholic beverages accompanying their meal within the business premises.
The minister said the sale of liquor was now permitted on Wednesdays to Fridays, from 10am until 6pm, and on Saturdays at 10am until 4pm in the afternoon.
No alcohol will be sold on Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays, added.
Meanwhile, Ms Serame revealed that the sale of traditional beer under Schedule 3 of the Liquor Act of 2008 would only take effect after three months to allow for consultation with Dikgosi and other stakeholders, as well as to develop new regulations for the sale of traditional beer.
She further said all establishments would have to adhere to the health protocols, which include the washing of hands, sanitising, adhering to social distancing protocols, the wearing of masks for employees and customers, taking temperatures as well as keeping a register for all who visit such stores.
"The essence of the decision to suspend the sale of alcoholic beverages was about protecting the nation and containing the spread of the coronavirus. It was about balancing the need to allow businesses to operate and survive, customer choice and liberties on the one hand vis-à-vis the health and safety of the entire nation on the other hand," Ms Serame said.
She said government had now considered the impact of prolonged closure of liquor outlets and the gains made thus far in relation to containing the spread of coronavirus, which led to the decision to allow the sale of alcohol under restricted conditions.
Source : BOPA