Eswatini News

eSwatini sticks to 2-month-old alcohol sales ban amid COVID-19

The government there said it’s still deciding about whether it should be dropped.

JOHANNESBURG – The Kingdom of eSwatini appears to be sticking to its two-month-old booze sales ban under COVID-19 lockdown regulations even as the rate of infection has slowed down.

Eswatini’s Minister of Commerce, Industry and Trade Manqoba Khumalo said the restriction on the production and distribution of alcohol is a delicate one.

He was speaking to foreign journalists at a zoom briefing on the kingdom’s post-pandemic economic recovery.

The ban started on 1 July and was meant to end after two months, but Khumalo said government wasn’t ready to make an informed decision.

“We are now at a stage where we are consulting all stakeholders extensively just to ensure that we can confidently make a decision that will not reverse some of the gains that we have seen. Our curve has begun to flatten but that was only in the last couple of weeks. We don’t believe we have accumulated enough data at this stage to make an informed decision on some of the bans that we’ve issued on things like alcohol at this stage, but we are consulting heavily, particularly all the health professionals and the industry itself as well as the relevant associations and the community structures.”

Khumalo said an announcement will be made soon.

Just like neighbouring South Africa, eSwatini instituted a booze sales ban to curb the spread of new COVID-19 infections and to give health facilities a chance to prepare.

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