Pernod Ricard South Africa, the world’s leading premium spirits and champagne company, has launched the #KeepTheSpirit initiative to help alleviate the economic impact on members of the bar and restaurant community.

The leading provider of premium spirits brands such as Jameson, Absolut and Chivas Regal will commit R2 000 000 to support nearly 1 000 bartenders and waitrons over the current lockdown period announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa.

The hospitality sector in South Africa has been hardest hit by the Covid-19 crisis and among those most deeply affected are members of the bar and restaurant community who now find themselves out of work.

Vincent Meliet, commercial development director at Pernod Ricard South Africa said they were standing behind the people whose commitment and conviviality had made Pernod Ricard’s brands what they were today.

“We know there may be a tough road ahead for them and we want to reach out and keep spirits up,” he said.

These sentiments were echoed by Werner Vosloo, sales director at Pernod Ricard South Africa and Anton Greyling, field sales director at Pernod Ricard South Africa.

“To our customers, who are also our friends, supporting your staff during this difficult time is a small token of our appreciation for the support you have given us over the years.  We stood together during the good times and now and we will stand together during the bad times,” said Vosloo.

Greyling said: “The #KeepTheSpirit initiative is one of the various projects that we are implementing to support the trade community during this time.”

April is usually a month of public holidays with people enjoying time out in restaurants, clubs and bars. This year things are different. In compliance with the nationwide 21-day lockdown all restaurants, clubs and bars have been ordered to close and people are self-distancing at home.

Following President Ramaphosa’s declaration of a national state of disaster, Police Minister Bheki Cele placed a curfew on the sale and consumption of alcohol. Before the lockdown commenced the sale of alcohol was banned after 6pm on weekdays and after 1pm on weekends.

After the lockdown, Cele announced a total ban on the sale and consumption of liquor during the lockdown with people only allowed to consume liquor inside their own homes.