MBABANE: The Eswatini Government has extended the ban on production, distribution and sale of alcoholic beverages in the country.
The extension on the ban was announced by the Prime Minister (PM) Ambrose Mandvulo Dlamini through a statement issued on 5thSeptember 2020, he said reports from teams conducting case investigation have shown clusters of COVID-19 cases that are related to group alcohol consumption episodes where some people have gone to the extent of sharing one drinking container.The PM said Government’s decision was informed by the high death rate which now stands at 2%, and among the highest in the region.
“It is for these reasons that Government has taken the decision to extend the ban of alcohol production and sales to local market. A review to determine whether the sale of alcohol can be allowed in October will be made at the end of September. That decision will be informed by the behaviour of this highly unpredictable virus over the course of this month,” said the PM.
The extension on the ban is likely to be criticized by those in the alcohol business and consumers. The Eswatini Beverages announced a 10% salary cut for it’s employees. The company issued a statement on the 4thAugust 2020 in their official Facebook page, where they said alcohol is not a major cause of COVID-19 spread. “Eswatini Beverages is committed to putting the safety of our people first during this pandemic. While we continue to support the measures to contain the spread of COVID-19, we do not believe that imposing a ban on liquor is beneficial to the economy, industry value chain and the risk in the proliferation of illicit alcohol and smuggling,” reads the statement.
Prime Minister Ambrose Dlamini