CITY BOTTLE STORES FACE CLOSURE newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

CITY BOTTLE STORES FACE CLOSURE newsdzeZimbabweNewsdzeZimbabwe

The government will not renew the licenses of all independent bottle shops operating in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) when their current permits expire in June.

Only liquor stores located in supermarkets will be allowed to operate within the CBD.

The move is in line with regulations introduced earlier this year to combat drug and substance abuse, and curb the spread of illegal alcohol outlets.

Director of Communications and Advocacy at the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, Gabriel Masfora, told the Sunday Mail that all retail liquor licenses will expire on June 30.

“For CBD in Harare specifically, we have flagged all bottle shops and all their licenses will not be renewed,” he said.

“In collaboration with the Licensing Inspectorate of the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP), they (Liquor Licensing Board) are conducting a joint compliance inspection to check all outlets selling alcoholic beverages.

“Only bottle shops in large supermarkets will be allowed to operate in the CBD after 30 June 2024.”

Regarding the new regulations, he said liquor stores “will not enjoy automatic (license) renewal” for 2024 if their operations pose a risk to public safety.

“It is up to businesses to ensure they are registered as set out in law, and as the Liquor Licensing Board (LLB), we process the application as long as it confirms the requirements as we have made clear to potential applicants,” he said. .

Liquor retail outlets in central Harare have been a cause for concern for authorities.

This trend is largely due to lower barriers to entry into the sector due to lower capital requirements and licensing fees.

The growth of the informal sector, as well as lax enforcement of liquor licenses and regulations, have also been cited as other reasons for the proliferation of liquor outlets in the capital.

Under the new regulations, unveiled by LLB late last year, nightclubs without soundproofing, air conditioning or insurance will not be licensed to operate.

In addition, all nightclubs must have illuminated fire escape signs displayed at all times.

They are also expected to have at least two water toilets per sex and at least three urinals or urinals three meters long.

Furthermore, all bar counter surfaces and shelves must have a smooth, impermeable finish, while fire fighting appliances and fire escape facilities indicated by prominent notices must be in place. Sunday mail

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