No vaccine, no alcohol a dumb idea — block access to restaurants and cinemas instead

Experts have said that the suggestion to force liquor stores to only sell to people who have been vaccinated is foolish, unfeeling, and unenforceable, Netwerk24 reported.

Far more achievable is asking restaurants and similar businesses to refuse entry to people who have not been vaccinated.

This comes after Limpopo Health MEC Phophi Ramathuba said she wanted liquor outlets and tavern owners in her province to stop selling alcohol to customers who have not received a Covid–19 vaccine.

Ramathuba said she believed businesses should have a right to refuse to sell alcohol to an unvaccinated person. This approach could help prevent the implementation of strict alcohol curbs that typically accompany a rise in positive Covid–19 cases.

“What we are saying as the Limpopo Department of Health, is that what we have seen happen each time we get into a wave [of Covid–19 infections], the alcohol industry is the one that is being hard hit,” stated Ramathuba.

“We are the first ones to lobby the Presidency and indicate that if we don’t put strict regulations on alcohol, we are forced to deal with alcohol-induced trauma cases,” she said.

“You find them having to compete with Covid–19 patients, and that puts a lot of stress on our healthcare system.”

Ramathuba said her department wanted to work with the alcohol industry this time around.

“We know throughout the pandemic, these past 18 months, we have been working against each other,r because we were doing what is best for the health of the nation but, at the same time, the alcohol industry has seen many people losing their jobs,” she said.

These job losses have a knock-on effect not only on the economy but on the healthcare industry.

“Because when you lose your job, stress kicks in. When stress kicks in, it is accompanied by depression and other medical conditions like diabetes and hypertension,” said Ramathuba.

“As you’ve already lost your medical insurance, you also become our burden,” she added.

Ramathuba said prohibiting alcohol sales based on vaccination status could be extended to other industries and sports events in particular.

Jannie Rossouw, University of the Witwatersrand professor of economics

However, University of the Witwatersrand professor of economics Jannie Rossouw said all such regulation would do is create a secondary market for alcohol.

If you aren’t vaccinated, you’ll send someone who is to go and buy booze for you.

Rossouw said it is far more achievable to block access to restaurants, hotels, and cinemas based on vaccine status.

From a public health perspective, he said it is also more sensible to target these businesses where people gather indoors for long periods.

France has implemented a similar “health pass,” which is required to visit restaurants and sports arenas, and for long-distance travel.

Al Jazeera reported that this has resulted in several protests breaking out in cities across France, with thousands of protestors demanding that the pass be abolished.

Now read: Forget about Covid-19 herd immunity — it’s not going to happen

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No vaccine, no alcohol a dumb idea — block access to restaurants and cinemas instead