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South Africa Drink Makers Puzzle on How to Ease Alcohol Ban

  • Distell among companies in talks with state on resuming sales
  • Alcohol ban has lasted beyond 50 days as part of virus battle
Photographer: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg
Updated on

Converting bars into beer-collection points and staggering liquor-store opening hours: Just two of the proposals put to South Africa’s government by drinks makers desperate to lift a 50-day ban on alcohol sales.

Industry leaders met with government officials on Friday and had “open-minded, collaborative and constructive talks” about how to resume trading alongside a broader easing of a lockdown to contain the coronavirus, Richard Rushton, chief executive officer of wine and spirits maker Distell Group Holdings Ltd., said in an interview. Alcoholic drinks may be available by the end of the month, he said, though details on how to trade safely have yet to be finalized.