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Ultimatum for liquor stores

Ultimatum for liquor stores


The Government vowed not to renew licences of all stand-alone liquor stores operating in Harare’s Central Business District (CBD) when their current permits expire in June.

The authorities said only liquor stores located in supermarkets will be allowed to operate within the CBD.

This is in line with regulations introduced earlier this year to fight drug and substance abuse, and curb the proliferation of illegal alcohol outlets.

Communications and advocacy director in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works Mr Gabriel Masvora told this publication that all liquor retailing licences will expire on June 30.

“Specifically for Harare CBD, we have flagged all bottle stores and all their licences will not be renewed,” he said.

“Together with the Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP)’s licensing inspectorate, they (Liquor Licensing Board) are carrying out a joint compliance inspection to check on all outlets that sell liquor.

“Only bottle stores in large supermarkets will be allowed to operate in the CBD post-June 30, 2024.”

In terms of the new regulations, he said, liquor outlets “will not enjoy automatic (licence) renewal” for the year 2024 if their operations pose a threat to public safety.

“It is up to the businesses to ensure that they register as stipulated by the law, and as Liquor Licensing Board (LLB), we process the application as long as it confirms the requirements as we have outlined them to prospective applicants,” he said.

Mushrooming alcohol retail outlets in central Harare have been a cause for concern for the authorities.

This trend has largely been attributed to low barriers to entry into the sector on account of low capital requirements and licensing fees.

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

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

In addition, all night clubs should have illuminated fire escape signs displayed at all times.

They are also expected to have a minimum of two water closets for each sex and at least three urinal bowels or a three-metre-long urinal.

Further, all bar counter tops and shelves must have a smooth impervious finish, while adequate firefighting appliances and fire escape facilities indicated by prominent notices should be in place.

















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