Lockdown booze frenzy: Shoppers fill up carts so they don't go off their trolleys

Being stuck in the house for 21 days – and in the process, dealing with two kids – will prove to be a challenge, and alcohol will be a necessity to make it easier.

This is according to a shopper who joined hundreds of others as early as 08:30 on Thursday morning to stock up on liquor and food at various stores ahead of the looming 21-day lockdown across the country.

The country has just a few hours to go before the national lockdown kicks in. The measure was announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).

Andrew Erasmus was among those to queue at Liquor City in Blackheath, Johannesburg to stock up on his favourite wine and beer.

"I heard there won't be any alcohol sold, so I just want to buy enough to last a week or two," Erasmus said.

Erasmus said he wasn't panic buying, but that people just needed to get enough so that they could be able to stay at home and adhere to the regulations.

Among his items was his favourite red wine, he said.

"I think it's good, if you have cabin fever and you just have a glass of wine, you'll feel better after staying 21 days with two kids in the house. For 21 days, you might need a drink or two," he said.

It was the same story at Tops at Spar in Blackheath as anxious shoppers rushed to grab their favourite gin, beer and whiskey.

Adhere to rules

At Cresta Shopping Centre, the banking court was packed to capacity with people withdrawing cash, while others deposited money. Clothing shops were quieter and some, like H&M and Footgear, were already closed.

An employee at the Edgars clothing store said they were also already preparing to close later in the day. She said she was excited, although she would not be doing much at home.

Chris Nicol said he was looking forward to the lockdown and would be using the time to do gardening. He emphasised that it was important for people to adhere to the rules and regulations set up during the period so that, by the time it ends, the virus could be contained and hopefully done away with.

"It's a bit like an alien world at the moment. You got to make do. After the three weeks lockdown, we should be fine," he said.

Erasmus said that, although he was also going to buy some beers and gin, he would have to deal with the consequences if he ran out before the end of the lockdown.

No store is allowed to sell alcohol during the 21 days and anyone who contravenes the regulations of the nationwide lockdown will be guilty of a criminal offence and will be liable to a fine or imprisonment for a period not exceeding six months, or both, Police Minister Bheki Cele warned during a media briefing on Wednesday.

Liquor stores have already spread the message of their closures on their social media.


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