What you said: We should not have total booze bans during Covid-19 waves

12 September 2021 - 14:00
Readers weighed in on the alcohol bans. Stock photo.
Readers weighed in on the alcohol bans. Stock photo.
Image: 123RF/stockfotocz

Readers have told the government not to touch their booze, this despite a study revealing that full alcohol bans were more effective at reducing trauma cases than partial bans.

The study published by the University of Cape Town (UCT) and Stellenbosch University looked at trauma cases during SA’s bans on alcohol sales, finding that full bans during high lockdown levels reduced trauma cases and assaults. 

The research used data from all trauma-related patients presented to the emergency centre at Mitchells Plain Hospital from March 1 to September 29 2020, and corresponding periods during 2019 were exported from an existing database.

The first total ban on alcohol was enforced in March 2020, followed by a second in July and the third in December. The fourth ban was implemented on June 28 this year and was lifted 28 days later.

SA Liquor Brand owners Association (Salba) chairperson Sibani Mngadi said the four bans on alcohol sales resulted in a total loss in retail sales revenue of R45.1bn, or equivalent to 15.8% of the sector’s projected sales for 2020 and 2021.

TimesLIVE ran a poll this week asking readers if SA should adopt a total booze ban during Covid-19 waves.

Sixty-one percent of respondents said total booze bans should be scrapped, while 24% said partial bans are “weak sauce” and total bans should be implemented.

Fifteen percent asked if that wasn't the strategy of the government already.

On social media, Chris Rojas claimed the problem was gatherings, not alcohol.

“Enforce existing Covid-19 restrictions on gatherings. Alcohol has nothing to do with gatherings. People are defiant regardless,” he said.

“The only thing that should be banned is the lockdown itself,” added Victor Makibane Dikotla.

Ralph Bhek'swayo said the alcohol ban may have reduced trauma cases but led to job losses.

“We have to teach ourselves to look at things in different perspectives. The alcohol ban may have been effective at reducing trauma cases, but it was also effective at job losses, as businesses shut down and workers got laid off. So which one would we like to avoid more, trauma cases or job losses? When you find the answer, call me.”