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MANZINI – There should be no alcohol sale for an extra month in Manzini as it is the epicentre of the novel coronavirus.

This was said by the Manzini Regional Administrator (RA), Chief Gija. He said his prayers were that Cabinet would make a decision that would favour his request of having an extension on the ban of alcohol sales in the region.
Last week, the RA said he had requested that government reviews the issue of Manzini as it had the highest cases in the country and needed to be treated differently.
As of Saturday, the Manzini Region had 291 confirmed cases of the coronavirus. From these statistics, in a single day, the region recorded 30 new cases.


Chief Gija said his plea to government had been necessitated by such drastic increase in confirmed cases in the region. The RA said he had requested Cabinet to halt the sale of alcohol in the Manzini Region or alternatively permit its sale once a week.
“If you recall the regulations by the Minister of Commerce (Industry and Trade), he said a person can buy two cases of alcohol or two bottles of whiskey per day. With such amounts, some of the people will host house parties,” Chief Gija said.
He said in fear of such incidents, his plea was to have the ban extended and or allow the public to have one day a week to buy alcohol. Chief Gija said the residents needed to be patient for just four more weeks.
Meanwhile, some liquor shops were getting ready for operations in the hub of the country yesterday while others had their gates locked with overgrown grass.

In one liquor outlet, among many that were visited, employees were found cleaning in preparation of resuming operations after being closed for a lengthy period.
Thirsty Corner was being prepared as early as 10am yesterday. The employees at the bar said they were cleaning their premises following that they had been closed since mid-April.


Three employees were found scrubbing the walls and floor. On the premises porch, there were empty crates and other utensils that were ejected from the premises.
The employees stated that they would disinfect the premises before replenishing the stock. They said some of the alcohol had been procured while more was expected to be brought in during the course of the week.
“We shall be setting up the sanitisers for our customers as well. Despite that this is a bar, people will buy and leave the premises as we have to adhere to the regulations,” an employee said.
Furthermore, the employees were ecstatic to return to work after an extended period of time. When the hub of the country was declared an epicentre, one of many strategies that were employed by the Distaster Management Team was to clamp down on liquor outlets.

The liquor outlets were ordered to close despite that in the other regions they were still operational at the time.


Meanwhile, establishments like the Mario’s Pub and Grill were found closed yesterday and the same was the case at One Up Bottle Store.  At One Up premises, the gate was locked while there was slight overgrowth within the yard due to the fact that the refreshment and socialising establishment had been closed for over a month.

Also confirming that all was set for today was the General Manager of Tops Liquor Shops, Likusasa Nxumalo. He said the shops were ready for today and had the stock ready.
Nxumalo said leading to their reopening, was capacitating their employees on COVID -19 and how they were expected to make sure that their customers adhered to the regulations.
“We gave them questionnaires as means to screen how safe they were before resuming work and we’ve now taught them on how to screen our customers,” he said.


Nxumalo said they had four outlets located across two regions: Mbabane and Manzini. He said their shops were at Ezulwini, Manzini, Matsapha and Mbabane. In all four outlets, he said, they would be emphasising on adhering to the rules.
Also, popular hangout spot in Manzini, The Xchange, had its stock replenished on Saturday. Excited members of the public shared some of the photos captured when a truck had gone to deliver beverages to the business.
The Xchange Director, Mxolisi Mabuza, confirmed that all was set for today. He said stock had been replenished, but more was to be added as the week progressed.


Mabuza said they would be intensifying their adherence to the guidelines set by government in order to protect their consumers. He said social distancing would not be an issue for patrons at his establishment as there was ample space.
“People who would want to use our restaurant and butchery would be able to practise social distancing. We have enough space that will accommodate those who will want to buy, eat and leave,” Mabuza said.

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