While businesses have welcomed the Lockdown 1 ‘reprieve’, Agri SA has questioned the logic of the ban on the sale of wine in stores and on wine farms over weekends.
“This draconic measure has an extremely negative impact on the financial sustainability of wine farms which attract a large number of visitors and tourists, particularly over weekends,” said Rico Basson, managing director of VinPro.
“The wine sector is a major contributor to domestic and international tourism in South Africa. We appreciate that tourism is regarded as a sector that can promote economic recovery. Relaxation of the rules for consumption on the premises, as well as indoor and outdoor events, should unlock opportunities for our sector to recover,” he added.
The continued restrictions on sales for home consumption over weekends according to the direct Covid protocol were disappointing for the 530 wine cellars which relied on direct sales from cellar doors for home consumption, he said. “This comes during a time when the wine industry, with a significant number of small and medium enterprises, is in dire need of economic recovery, job retention and growth.”
Agri SA has called on government to lift the ban for which he believes there is no rational argument.