ZIMBABWE’S biggest beverages manufacturer, Delta Beverages, which was recently designated as an essential service provider has rubbished reports that there is a blanket ban on the sale of alcohol.
Off-premises consumption outlets can still sell alcoholic products during the 21-day national lockdown, contrary to reports by the State media that the sale of alcohol in retail outlets countrywide had been banned to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
Police spokesperson Paul Nyathi was quoted as saying rowdy citizens were defying social distancing measures and thus a blanket ban was being effected to curtail social disorder.
“The lockdown measures were clearly stated and in light of ensuring that we fight COVID-19, there will be no sale of alcohol at any point in places like bottle stores and supermarkets,” Nyathi was quoted by the State media as having said.
He added: “This comes as we have realised that people who buy alcohol at supermarkets are giving us challenges. They buy and drink as groups, be it either in their vehicles or places of residence thereby defying social distancing requirements.
“Action will be taken on all those who will defy the order and sell alcohol at any bases. The police today (Thursday) started to take full action and will be visible on the ground throughout the lockdown period,” he continued.
Delta’s Corporate Affairs Executive Patricia Murambinda, however, said the brewer was not under any lockdown and was, in fact, operating within the guidelines as per Statutory Instruments 82 and 83.
“In any case, the regulations only stipulate that you cannot sell alcohol from a public place, which is defined to include ’liquor establishments. This is ’any place where patrons buy and consume liquor… at the establishment,” she said.
“It means off-premise consumption outlets can still sell alcoholic products. Issues of public drinking are already outlawed and therefore the Police should deal with such offenders.
“Moreso, if there are gatherings where people are not abiding with the social distancing and hygiene standards,” she added. – Source: Zim Morning