Thursday, November 30, 2023

SOE exit boosts liquor industry

Liquor operators have expressed jubilance over the country’s exit from state of emergency (SOE).

The industry has suffered in the last 18 months as a result of sudden ban on alcohol sales linked to rising cases of Covid-19.

A liquor operator in Gaborone Oaitse Kamodi said early days of normalcy has brought renewed hope in his business which this year was on the verge of permanent closure.

Kamodi of Segobe bar indicated that normal operating hours without curfew times have given his business a huge boost, adding that he will continue to closely monitor the business to see whether he can recall some of his retrenched employees.

“When Covid-19 started last year, I had about seven employees only to be left with one at this point but during the holidays because I was expecting a huge turnout I had to recall two to assist during the independence holidays only. I will assess the situation, hopefully if things do not change I will retain them again on permanent basis,” said Kamodi.

He stated that business has been difficult during SOE as there were no sit-ins.

“These are early days of course and we expect business to continue picking up during the last quarter of the year, hopefully it will be much better during festive season,” added Kamodi.

For her part, Lesedi Joseph of Hill bar in Mahalapye said Christmas came early for her as the bar was packed throughout the holidays.

“I had stocked up before the start of holidays but on Saturday I had to make a plan to fill up my fridges because clients had cleared the stock, so that was an indication that business had improved. So far so good because of the normal trading hours and we are hoping that at some point I will also be able to retain some of employees,” said Joseph.

She also said her business will look into expanding by having a restaurant next year to cater for all the needs of her clients.

“Even though the business is quite promising at this stage, I cannot jump the gun by hiring more people and establishing my fast food outlet instantly, I will only do so next year,” said Joseph.

On the other hand, Kabo Sekotswe of Base bar in Molepolole also hailed SOE exit saying that business performed good over the Independence holidays.

Sekotswe however said even though it will take time to see full recover of the business, there is light at the end of the tunnel.

“I am sure that once people have fully vaccinated, we will not have any worries thinking that government will cut the operating hours. We suffered a great deal over the past 18 months and it is sad to note that some bars have shut down because they could not pay rentals, hopefully government will assist them somehow,” said Sekotswe.


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