Manzini Municipality Sensitizes Liquor Traders on COVID-19
The Municipal Council of Manzini last Friday hosted a workshop for liquor establishments who carry out business in the city. The purpose of the workshop was to sensitize the liquor traders about safety measures in relation to the Covid-19 pandemic, adherence to environmental health and hygiene measures as well as issues of special consent applications. The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) was also there to sensitise the business people about the importance of adhering to Covid-19 regulations. The workshop, which was held at the Council Chamber, covered liquor traders who are based in Ngwane Park and Fairview whilst those who are located in the remainder of the city will be taken through a similar exercise in the coming weeks. The objective of the workshop was to ensure that the spread of the Covid-19 virus continues to be suppressed despite liquor trade having been recently unbanned in the country.
The Municipality explained what Covid-19 was, how it was transmitted, how long it lived on surfaces, known symptoms as well as acceptable preventative measures. Also emphasised was the importance of physical distancing, frequent washing of hands using soap and running water, wearing of a face mask and periodic disinfection. The liquor traders were taken aback on information that the virus could live on a surgical mask for up to seven days. The importance of disposing of the surgical mask after a day’s use was emphasised. The business people were also informed about the elements that health inspectors focused on when conducting health inspections on business establishments. It was stressed that liquor establishments, like all other businesses, were expected to meet specific minimum standards in terms of liquor handling and storage. Highlighted were specific requirements in relation to the design of the business outlet, walls, floors, ceiling, lighting, ventilation, water supply, toilet facilities as well as other health and hygiene requirements.
…LIQUOR TRADERS ALSO SENSITISED AGAINST NOISE
The Municipal Council of Manzini has sensitised liquor traders against excessive noise, stating that noise pollution caused discomfort to neighbouring residents including the elderly and children. The traders were advised to play light music, ensuring that the sound is contained within the establishment. It was also emphasised that the installation of juke box music equipment was prohibited in wine and malt as well as in restaurant/liquor establishments. It was stated that loud music was only permitted in establishments that had a disco licence; even in that case, such establishment must be properly sound-proofed. Manzini residents and the general members of the public were urged to make use of the Municipality’s night response team for interventions against noise. The night response team’s services are accessible through the Council 24/7 Call Centre (800 2004/2505 7000).
The Municipality further encouraged the liquor traders to engage security personnel for purposes of controlling rowdy and unbecoming patrons. The traders were also warned against selling of alcoholic beverages to under-aged children. Operators of restaurant/liquor establishments were urged to sell alcoholic beverages only to sit-in customers and not allow alcoholic drinks to be taken outside the establishment.
…INFORM THE POLICE WHEN YOU SEE ILLEGAL ALCOHOL SALE – REPS
The Royal Eswatini Police Service (REPS) has implored liquor traders and the general members of the public to alert them whenever they saw someone selling alcoholic beverages illegally. This was said by Manzini Deputy Station Commander Mfanasibili Mkhwanazi during a workshop that had been organised by the Municipal Council of Manzini to sensitise liquor traders about the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.
“As the police we are concerned about the people who sell alcoholic beverages illegally. They are all over the neighbourhoods selling from the boot of their vehicles as well as from their residences. These people are doing so illegally and they need to be stopped. It is surprising that the legal liquor traders know them but they do not report them to us yet they are giving them unnecessary competition. Some of these people even park their vehicles near your establishments during weekends and sell alcohol from the boot of their cars but you do not report them. Please notify us so that we can arrest them”, said Mkhwanazi.
He further stressed that the police would continue to be vigilant, ensuring that liquor traders observed the gazetted opening and closing times in line with the Covid-19 regulations. The Deputy Commander further urged liquor traders to ensure that customers did not consume alcoholic beverages within the liquor establishment premises.
“As the police we emphasise on buying of alcoholic beverages for home consumption only. Sharing of alcoholic beverages bottles is also strictly prohibited. Anyone found sharing a beer bottle or can will be arrested without hesitation”, the police added.
Mkhwanazi added that the police had noted a misconception amongst operators of restaurant/liquor establishments to the effect that they were permitted to sell alcoholic beverages beyond the gazetted closing time.
“That is not correct. After the gazetted closing time you can continue serving food but not alcoholic beverages. If you are found serving alcohol beyond the closing time you will be in trouble with the law”, Mkhwanazi stated.
He also hinted that the police had observed a decline in criminal activities during the period when the sale of alcohol was banned and an upsurge was now being experienced following the unbanning of alcohol sale.