Drinkers stock up to ensure they make it through the lonely days of lockdown

26 March 2020 - 15:55 By suthentira govender

Many South Africans stocked up on alcohol supplies from bottle stores around the country on March 26 2020 after government announced that no purchasing of alcohol will be allowed during the national lockdown. TimesLIVE takes you to the streets of Cape Town where booze buyers explain what the buying spree has been like.

Hours before the 21-day lockdown starting midnight on Thursday, thousands of Durban residents rushed to liquor outlets to stock up.

Queues started building outside liquor outlets around midday in the wake of police minister Bheki Cele's announcement on Wednesday that all supermarkets and liquor stores would be banned from selling booze during the lockdown, as part of measures to contain the spread of the coronavirus.

Cele also said the transportation of alcohol, including in private cars, would not be allowed.

This means people would be arrested if found in possession of alcohol in their cars.

He said that in terms of the regulations, this would be a criminal offence punishable by law, including a fine or imprisonment.

At Makro in Springfield, customers queued outside the liquor outlet with trolleys. Many were practising social distancing.

Luis and Evelyn Camacho bought beer and wine to get them through the lockdown.
Luis and Evelyn Camacho bought beer and wine to get them through the lockdown.
Image: Sandile Ndlovu

Many refused to comment as they left with their stash.

At Liberty Liquors in Greyville, scores of people were buying everything from spirits and beer to ciders and wine.

Thesan Thaver from Morningside told TimesLIVE he had bought eight bottles of Johnnie Walker.

“I think I will run out before the lockdown is over. It depends on how bored I am.”

He said a relative was inside the store buying 10 bottles of whisky for the lockdown.

Luis and Evelyn Camacho stocked up on wine and beer.

“I was saying to the wife that this is chance to cut down,” said Camacho.

Another customer who did not want to be named said: “Food I can get during the lockdown, the sale of alcohol however is banned.

“I got four crates of beer for myself and about two and half crates of wine for the wife.

“I should consume two beers a day, that's not too much,” he said.

Liberty Liquors manager Mervin Sookoo said sales were “better than usual”.

“The lockdown will have a big impact on business, but we have to respect the government's decision.

“We have noticed that customers have been stocking up, mostly on spirits and ciders.”