Level 3: People queue for booze in Pretoria, afraid that ban will return

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  • The Makro Liquor Store in Silverlakes, Pretoria, had long queues of people waiting to buy alcohol on Monday as the country entered Level 3 of the lockdown. 
  • People started queuing outside the liquor store as early as 07:00, while the store only opened at 09:00
  • Several customers stockpiled, anticipating that the government regulations may be reversed and that the sale alcohol will again be prohibited 

Many shoppers at the Makro Liquor Store in Silverlakes, Pretoria endured long queues on Monday to purchase booze, anticipating that government may change the regulations and reintroduce the ban on the sale of alcohol.

News24 visited the popular bottle store on Monday, which marked the first day of lockdown Level 3, which allows the buying of alcohol for off-site consumption.

READ | Thieves tunnel into Joburg liquor store and steal booze worth R300 000

People started queuing around 07:00, waiting for the store to open at 09:00.

Willie Raath, who was one of the first customers allowed in, bought three bottles of whisky, three bottles of brandy, three bottles of gin, three bottles of vodka and a box of wine.

Raath said he had stocked up on the liquor as he was worried that the ban would be reversed if Tshwane went back to Level 4 of the lockdown.

Liquor, alcohol
Willie Raath leaves the Makro Liquor Store in Silverlakes, Pretoria after being alcohol on day 1 of the level 3 lockdown. (News24/Alex Mitchley)

Another shopper, who did not want to be named, bought several cases of beer, gin and two boxes of wine.

READ | Thieves tunnel into Joburg liquor store, steal booze worth R300 000

His reasons for stockpiling were the same as Raath.

"The thing is, I am afraid that they might close again, because with the government, nothing is ever confirmed. With the current situation, I want to be on the safe side," he told News24.

The thing is, I am afraid that they might close again, because with the government, nothing is ever confirmed.
Willie Raath, Pretoria resident

Jaco Myburg, who had been queuing with his wife and nephew since 07:00 said he could not wait to have some of the Jack Daniels whiskey he had purchased.

Changes

Myburg, like the others that News24 interviewed also stockpiled in anticipation of a possible change in the regulations.

"They might change the regulations again, then you might not get any alcohol, so we stocked up a little, made provisions for that in case it should happen. Yhat was the whole idea,” Myburg said.

While many people were able to stock up on booze, others only purchased a bottle or two, or a single case of beer.

Liquor, alcohol
Alcohol being loaded onto a bakkie at the Makro Liquor Store in Silverlakes, Pretoria. (News24/Alex Mitchley)

READ | Level 3 lockdown: What we know about liquor sales

However, they were also of the view that regulations could change, which is why the decided to queue on Monday and not wait for later in the week to purchase liquor.

“It’s like the cigarettes, open the one day, closed the next day. So rather get a bottle now in case its closed tomorrow,” one shopper, who only identified himself as Gert, said.

Meanwhile, restaurant owners, liquor store and tavern owners also made their way to the Makro liquor store to stock up. 

According to the Level 3 regulations, restaurants, bars and tavern owners may also sell alcohol, but only for off-site consumption.

Linda Nkosi, who owns a bottle store in Mamelodi, visited Makro to restock, as he had already started running out of liquor to sell when he opened on Monday morning.

He told News24 that he decided to restock for the entire week, as the sales were "crazy and unheard of."

Liquor, alcohol
Alcohol bought at the Marko Liquor Store in Silverlakes, Pretoria for a bottle store in Mamelodi, owned by Linda Nkosi. (News24/Alex Mitchley)

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