LIQUOR store owners have pleaded with the government to allow them to resume daily operations like other businesses who have been allowed to do so after the lifting of the lockdown on 5 May 2020.
Sales of alcohol were deemed non-essential and stopped by the government when it imposed a nationwide lockdown from 30 March to 5 May 2020 as part of efforts to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Following the lifting of the lockdown, most non-essential businesses were allowed to resume daily operations but the sale of liquor is only allowed on Mondays and Thursdays.
This, however, is not enough according to the Lesotho Liquor and Restaurant Owners Association.
The association’s treasurer, ‘Matlotliso Kolope, on Friday told the media that the two days on which they were allowed to conduct their business were not sufficient as most of their clients would be at work.
“We are only given two days to trade and those days do not benefit us at all because our customers are at work and we also have to use those days to restock our products,” Ms Kolope said.
Public health regulations prescribe social distancing and bar gatherings of more than 50 people at any place.
But Ms Kolope said there was no justification for limiting them to just two business days per week when other businesses that served even greater numbers of people were allowed to operate daily.
She also appealed to the government to give small liquor retailers financial aid from the M500 million it said it had set aside to assist struggling small businesses.
The fund was announced last month by then Prime Minister Thomas Thabane but to date no company has benefited from it. The government has not even outlined the criteria for eligibility for the funds, how they will be managed and by who.