- Spokesman fears gov’t could be compelled to order another shutdown
- Calls on the police to help enforce COVID-19 protocols
The president of the Botswana Beverage Association (BoBA), Peter Noke, has condemned the behaviour of the drinking public during the Independence holidays for breaking COVID-19 protocols.
“I received a lot of calls from business owners during the holidays complaining that a lot of people were parked outside their premises while they were not getting any business and we had agreed with the Ministry of Investment, Trade and Industry (MITI) that we would take full responsibility for enforcing COVID-19 protocols on our customers,” Noke told The Botswana Gazette in an interview.
“We had a meeting with Minister Mmusi Kgafela before the end of state of public emergency about passing a law that prohibits people from gathering in parking lots and he said the powers to do that were vested in the COVID-19 Task Force and the Ministry of Health and Wellness (MoHW) and that he would meet them to discuss the issue and give us feedback. To this day he has not done that.”
He described the behaviour of the drinking public as unacceptable to the alcohol industry and the entertainment sector and could compel the government to impose a shutdown in the face of surging COVID-19 cases. “Through our numerous discussions with the ministry, we asked them to slowly open up the entertainment industry,” he said. “You may be aware that some of the major clubs in Gaborone did not open during the holidays. This was intended to monitor the situation and came from fear that what took place during the holidays could happen.”
He added that Batswana should be aware that COVID-19 is a reality far from gone and called on the police to come on board to help ensure that COVID-19 protocols are observed.
Efforts to reach Minister Kgafela proved futile as both his mobile phones went on voice mail and he had not responded to questions by the time of going to press.
At the COVID-19 Task Force, Oscar Maroba told The Gazette: “Your inquiry is more inclined to regulations which are under the Director of Health Services. Forward your inquiry to communications of MOHW.”
The ministry’s Chief Public Relations Officer, Dr Christopher Nyanga, said, “We are not aware of such.”