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Safety in spotlight as retailers prepare for return of alcohol, cigarettes sales


The move to level 2 would see the ban on booze lifted again and the highly anticipated return of cigarettes sales.

A closed Spar Tops store at the Spruitview Shopping Centre in Vosloorus, Ekuerhuleni on the eve of the alcohol ban lifting on 17 August 2020. Picture: Sethembiso Zulu/EWN

JOHANNESBURG – With the news of alcohol and tobacco products being allowed back on the shelves from Tuesday, retailers were on a deadline to figure out how to keep people safe from COVID-19 while bringing their businesses back to life.

The move to level 2 will see the ban on booze lifted again and the highly anticipated return of cigarette sales.

The result of reopening and then banning alcohol sales has thrown retailers and their employees into an emotional and financial tailspin. Stores had until Monday midnight to readjust their businesses in order to meet safety protocols as South Africans prepared for the eased lockdown.

Employees at The Fridge, a bottle store in Sandton, returned to the store for the first since their jobs came to an abrupt halt in July.

The manager of the store, Princess Dlamini, said that while she welcomed the sale of alcohol, her livelihood was now entirely dependent on how South Africans behaved.

“We are really glad that tomorrow we are opening. The immediate effect on the ban of alcohol sales hit us hard. So, anyone who misbehaves, they should take account for it, not us,” Dlamini said.

After 144 days, the staff at premiere tobacco store JJ Cale on Monday started to replenish shelves with cigarette boxes, cigars, and other tobacco products.

“We’ve been busy with preparations since the announcement to try to get some stock into warehouses and our site,” said the company’s owner Warren Isaacs.

While retailers and restaurants would ensure COVID-19 health measures are implemented, residents were urged to practice social distancing and avoid stockpiling.

WATCH: SA moves to level 2 of lockdown from midnight – COVID 19 Situation Desk 3 July 2020



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