Covid-19: Alcohol industry to deploy patrollers in Eastern Cape in attempt to curb spread of virus

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Trained community patrollers will be dispatched to eight Eastern Cape police stations in an attempt to curb the spread.
Trained community patrollers will be dispatched to eight Eastern Cape police stations in an attempt to curb the spread.
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  • A collaboration between the Eastern Cape government and the alcohol industry will see the deployment of community patrollers to Covid-19 hotspots.
  • The patrollers will ensure alcohol outlets comply with Level 1 trading restrictions, reporting to Community Policing Forums and local police stations.
  • It is believed non-compliance at alcohol traders in the province is adding to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Around 80 trained community patrollers will be dispatched to eight Eastern Cape police stations in an attempt to curb the spread of Covid-19 in the province.

This collaboration between the Eastern Cape government and the alcohol industry follows a meeting on Saturday to discuss an outbreak of cases in the province.

There has been a surge in Covid-19 cases in the province, with the Nelson Mandela Bay metro now accounting for more than 50% of the country's daily infections, News24 previously reported.

READ | Covid-19: Eastern Cape responsible for half of new daily infections

This has led experts to raise concerns that festive season travel to the province may trigger a second wave for the country come January.

The alcohol industry has committed to train and deploy 10 patrollers per station in Covid-19 hotspots in the province, according to a joint statement released by the provincial government and industry bodies.

SEE | News24's Covid-19 dashboard: Track the spread, recovery and mortality statistics here

"Working together with the SAPS and Community Policing Forums, the patrollers will ensure compliance with the regulations in alcohol outlets in the catchment areas of the selected police stations. Outlets found to be violating the regulations will be reported to the SAPS and the Eastern Cape Liquor Board for further investigation and adjudication," Sunday's statement read.

Surge

During Saturday's meeting, concerns were raised that some alcohol outlets were not complying with the regulations of the Liquor Act and Level 1 trading requirements. It is believed this may be contributing to the surge in Covid-19 cases.

Lucky Ntimane, convener of the Liquor Traders' Formations, urged traders to comply with the regulations.

"Ensure that people are wearing masks and that they sanitise when they enter your outlet. Outlet owners should ensure that there is good ventilation and limit the number of patrons to not more than 50% of the outlet capacity to ensure social distancing. These are basic simple things we need to do to prevent the rise of infections being linked to our facilities and businesses."

A joint task team of government and industry representatives has been formed to look at further collaboration.

"The alcohol industry should assist us in containing the infections associated with on-consumption of alcohol. The… commitment shown by the alcohol industry to this fight is a good step and it will help us lower the rate of transmission of infection. All owners of alcohol trading places have a responsibility to comply with regulations to save their businesses and to save lives," said Mvusiwekhaya Sicwetsha, spokesperson for the Eastern Cape premier.

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