Covid-19 frontline nurse beats the rush to ‘ease her stress’ with booze

Hazel Sithole said being a frontline nurse during the Covid-19 pandemic is so stressful that she needs alcohol to relax.
Image: Shonisani Tshikalange

A nurse has ditched her home brew for the finer stuff as liquor sales resumed on Monday under level 3 of the lockdown.

Hazel Sithole, 39, said she arrived at Atteridgeville Plaza, near Pretoria, about 5am.

Despite her initial shyness at being the first to arrive, she stocked up on what she described as ” a stress reliever”. She was among hundreds of early shoppers who queued outside liquor outlets after the ban on alcohol sales, which came into effect on March 27, was lifted.

“I couldn’t sleep. When I got here there was no one, so I had to wait outside the mall. When I got in I realised it was only mall staff and I was the only customer, so I had to go back home to wait a bit because I was afraid people would think I was crazy to wake up early for alcohol,” she said.

Sithole, who works in a Covid-19 hospital ward, was excited to be number one in the long queue.

“I am very, very happy. Friends are calling me and they can’t believe I am number one. I am even willing to spend R1,000,” she said.

Sithole said she needed to let off steam after her frontline work, and had even tried to brew her own alcohol at home.

‘Now I am going to release the stress of this virus.

“I am scared for my children but I try very hard to keep them safe. Now that I have found my fix, I will be thinking straight,” she said.

Prudence Kgathuke, 23, was disappointed with the limitation of two cases of alcohol per customer. “I thought that I was going to stock up a lot [on Savanna]. But it’s the law, so there is nothing we can do,” she said.

Kgathuke, who woke up at 5am, said she bought alcohol at high prices from illicit traders during the lockdown, and was thrilled to be near the front of the long snaking queue at the mall.

“I was happy when I got here and discovered that I was number three, it was like a happy new year,” she said.

“I will gulp down the first one just like water, I can’t wait to feel that wetness in my throat.”

Trust Kobe arranged on Thursday to be on leave on Monday.
The 22-year-old said he first went to Nkomo village complex but turned back when he saw the long queue there.

He said although he preferred drinking at a club as it was more fun, he was going to adhere to the regulations of drinking at home.

“I will adapt to the changes of drinking at home, the problem is that when you get drunk at home you go to sleep but at the club you get drunk and dance,” he said.

By Shonisani Tshikalange

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