Disgruntled liquor retailers have expressed concern over trading conditions which include closure of night clubs and trading hours for liquor restaurants.
Speaking at the Night Clubs, Liquor Restaurant and Bottle store retailers press conference last week, Tumelo Mmusi of Disco queue in Moshupa said it was disappointing that they have not been addressed since the closure of their businesses nine months ago.
“No one has come forward to address our situation ever since we were forced to close down due to the Covid-19 pandemic nine months ago. We do understand that the pandemic was out of control but we have bills to pay as well. We have children who are schooling and these night clubs are our source of income, hence the government needs to reconsider re-opening so we make some bit of money as we head into the festive season,” he said.
Mmusi further reiterated that as the government has started to ease up on some sectors of the economy such as reopening of the borders, they must consider opening night clubs as well as there are solutions as to how they can control their crowds.
“We have shield masks that can be used, which is way better than the common masks that we know as they are more comfortable and they protect individuals and people around them. I believe that could be a turning point in our lives as we have been struggling for the past nine months,” Mmusi reiterated.
For her part, Nasa Mosinyi, who runs a liquor restaurant in Bokaa called for liquor restaurants and bars to operate under similar trading hours, citing sharing of crowds in order to adhere to Covid-19 regulations.
Mosinyi however complained that the new trading conditions favour only franchise restaurants as they are given more privilege. “The franchise restaurants are no longer serving their purpose which is to sell food. They have now turned into alcohol hubs, which is a concern as night clubs are still closed and we feel the government should do something about this issue as it has gone out hand,” said Mosinyi.
Botswana Entertainment Promoters Association (BEPA) Chairperson Gilbert Seagile said he was impressed with the Covid-19 compliance at some of the events that have been hosted recently. “There has been some impressive compliance to the Covid-19 regulations and that is commendable. This shows that we have the situation under control,” he said.
Seagile further said they have been in several engagements with the Covid-19 task force team since July in an attempt to get them to open up the creative industries. “We have long sent a document to the Covid-19 task team and they said they are the ones who can open up the events. But their task is to coordinate hence it is upon us to show them the ropes on how they are going to coordinate.
Furthermore, we need to work with our parent Ministry so that they can be held accountable and in that particular document we outlined key points of involving experts on how we are going to control the crowds and I feel the promoters can do a good job,” said Seagile.