South Africa: South Africa Lifts Ban on Alcohol Sales and Distribution

Initially banned in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africa announced that the sale and distribution of alcohol would be reauthorized from August 17, 2020. However, some restrictions will still apply, such as sales will only be allowed from Monday to Thursday during the hours 9 am – 5 pm at retail outlets and until 10 pm only at restaurants. While the lifting of the ban has been widely welcomed, the economic impact has been devastating. The domestic industry is reported to have lost more than R25 billion (US$1.4 billion) in revenue; about 120,000 jobs have been lost; 80 wineries and 350 wine grape producers will go out of business; and about 45 percent of craft brewers have closed down. So far in 2020, U.S. exports of distilled spirits, wine and beer to South Africa are already 39 percent lower than the same period last year due to the ban and related restrictions.

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