The South African wine industry say they are relieved about the latest covid-19 regulations announced by president Cyril Ramaphosa last night. Wineries may continue to sell wine during licensed trading hours throughout the week.
“We are grateful for the unchanged trading hours for the sale of alcohol for on-consumption as well as the special mention of registered wineries and wine farms which may continue to offer tastings and wine sales to the public for off-site consumption over weekends,” says Rico Basson, the managing director of Vinpro.
Basson says Ramaphosa’s latest announcement in the wake of the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic comes at a time when the wine sector remains under severe financial pressure. The industry is slowly recovering from the adverse effect of the ban on exports and restricted trade earlier this year.
“We believe that the implementation of a more focused approach and targeted interventions in certain hotspot areas will prove to be more effective in curbing the spread of covid-19, while preserving livelihoods and keeping the economy going,” says Basson.
Engagement with minister of health
According to Basson these outcomes are aligned with continuous consultation between Vinpro and the respective national government departments and the Western Cape government, as well as a proposal Vinpro made to the minister of health, Dr Zweli Mkhize, during a consultative session in George on 13 November 2020.
During this meeting Vinpro highlighted the industry’s vital economic contribution and the crucial role of wine tourism as part of the broader wine and agricultural sectors.
“We share the president’s concern about the new wave of infections, and pledge to do our part in fighting covid-19,” says Basson.
Vinpro has made an urgent appeal to individuals and businesses in the sector to do their utmost to implement preventative measures. “It is our responsibility to keep our people safe and healthy and to give momentum to the economy, while still strictly enforcing the existing safety protocols. Let’s promote the safe and responsible production, trade, marketing and consumption together.”