Liquor board red flags rogue outlets
Ivan Zhakata–Herald Correspondent
Some bottle stores and other retail liquor outlets are opening early or closing late and letting customers drink on their premises, and are even offering entertainment, and the Liquor Licencing Board has warned them that inspections are in progress and those not keeping the conditions of their licences risk prosecution and loss of the licence.
The board is the regulatory and controlling authority of the liquor industry in Zimbabwe
In a statement, the board said to avoid any conflicts or legal repercussions, it was essential for liquor operators to understand and comply with the terms of their licences.
The terms included operating within the specified hours and ensuring that no alcohol was consumed on the premises unless the licence was for a bar or restaurant.
“The board encourages members of the public who have any concerns about non-compliant liquor outlets to report them to the board for appropriate action,” it said.
“Over the past months, the board has observed that many liquor outlets are failing to adhere to stipulated operating hours. It is important to note that the Liquor Licencing Board takes these violations seriously and will not hesitate to take enforcement action against any liquor outlet found to be in contravention of the law. This may include revoking the license or imposing fines.
“Bottle stores are strictly takeaway shops and do not allow for the consumption of alcohol on the premises.”
The board said no television, radio, amusement machine or any form of entertainment was allowed at a bottle store.
But bars, beerhalls, restaurants, night clubs are sit-in establishments which allow for patrons to sit within the premises.
But consumption of alcohol outside and in the vicinity of these establishment is not allowed.
“The board is also concerned over the sprouting of unlicensed outlets that have become hubs of illicit brews. The board will continue to work with law enforcement agents to ensure that culprits are arrested and prosecuted. For avoidance of doubt, below are the days and operating hours for licenced outlets as stipulated in the SI 197 of 2004.”
According to the SI, liquor licences for airport, bars, beerhalls allow them to operate any day between 10 am and 11pm while bottle stores may operate any day between 8am and 8pm.
Clubs are allowed to operate any day between 10.30am and 11pm, hotels any day except for Sundays between 10.30am and 11.30pm, while night clubs can operate any day other than a Sunday between 8 pm and 3am the following day.
Other hangout pubs can operate anytime within the stipulated time but may apply for a time extension according to the SI.