President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nation-wide lockdown on Monday evening, 23 March 2020 that will be in effect for 21 days from midnight on 26 March 2020 to midnight on 16 April 2020.
Find herewith the President’s full speech, with specific sections marked in yellow that are applicable to the agricultural sector.
We are well aware of specific questions regarding the harvesting of wine grapes, transport of employees, seasonal workers, cellar activities, laboratory services, logistics, bottling facilities, as well as a number of other activities related to the wine value-chain, including the sale of wine in supermarkets and/or standalone liquor stores.
It is Vinpro’s interpretation that:
- The wine industry forms part of regulations that apply to the agricultural sector and therefore activities can continue at production level, specifically with regard to regions that are still busy harvesting.
- Winery activities are likely to be limited to essential services (winemaking and laboratory services), while tasting rooms, restaurants and tourism activities must be closed.
- The ports will remain open for export and import of goods. Vinpro specifically advocates strongly about this.
Aspects that the wine industry, together with other agricultural organisations and government, are urgently addressing for clarification are:
- What are the implications for the sale and consumption of wine outside restaurants, bars and tasting rooms (i.e. off-consumption)? May liquor stores and supermarkets continue to sell liquor?
- Can the transport of goods continue, or are there restrictions? This applies to exports and delivery.
- What is the additional protocol for transporting employees to farms in terms of safety and hygiene?
- What would be the effect on certification activities?
An official Gazette should also be issued within the next two days with further details on the implementation of the stricter measures.
Rest assured that as a wine industry these issues have recently formed part of all the respective discussion forums. It is now important to confirm the interpretation of the announced measures with the various Government departments and to ensure that any grey areas and/or possibly different interpretations will be eliminated – both at national and provincial levels, specifically in the Western and Northern Cape.
Talks have been scheduled between the respective parties over the next two days. We undertake to communicate final clearance to you as it becomes available, in a coordinated manner, and limited to actual tangible outputs with regard to specific permits and letters of authorisation.
Also, be sure to follow this wine-related news platform around COVID-19: https://www.wineland.co.za/covid-19-info/
We appreciate producers’ and wineries’ patience and wish them well with all activities in the vineyard and cellar.
tel: 021 276 0429
Vinpro Communications Manager
tel: 082 806 4075