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New COVID rules allow liquor sales after 6 pm

The latest COVID regulations, Gazetted on November 29th, have repealed Regulation 27 that initially prohibited the sale of liquor after 6 p.m.

Statutory Instrument No. 149 (of 2021) effectively repeals Regulation 27 which read: “27.–(1) Notwithstanding anything contained in the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act or any licence issued under the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act, no person shall sell liquor during the hours of six o’clock p.m. to four o’clock a.m. of the following morning.”

The change has entered into force as of Friday, November 26th, and brings to an end the restriction that had been in place since S.I. No. 119, which was Gazetted on October 13th. The move comes amidst other signs of relaxing COVID-19 restrictions, as the country’s positivity rate (i.e. number of positive cases as a percentage of total tests done) has been inching closer to the benchmark of five percent.

It is, however, noteworthy that recent research has shown that alcohol consumption has been increased due to the stress of brought on by the pandemic. One OECD report states:

Some of the problems associated with harmful alcohol consumption were intensified by the crisis, even though the long-term impacts of COVID‑19 on alcohol consumption are uncertain. During the COVID‑19 lockdowns, women, parents of young children, people with higher income and those with anxiety and depressive symptoms reported the highest increase in alcohol consumption. … There is also a risk that COVID‑19 causes an increase in problematic drinking in the medium term, given that excessive alcohol consumption is common after traumatic events as a response to high-stress levels.”

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