New liquor laws hard to swallow
No liquor after 6pm during the week and on Saturdays, and no sales at all from bottle stores on Sundays.
That in essence is what the city’s new stringent liquor laws say, and which come into effect on April 1.
Those in the liquor industry say this will lead to job losses, inconvenience for consumers, and the decline of favoured watering holes.
However, the city says the by-law, which is “not set in stone”, will help to improve Cape Town’s reputation as a desirable destination in the long run.
Yesterday Mike Brownstone, the owner of the popular Harleys Liquor & Wine Specialists store in the city centre, described the by-law as “a shambles”.
For 16 years, his store had operated from 9am to 10pm from Monday to Friday, from 9am to 7pm on a Saturday and from 10am to 5pm on a Sunday.
“In my situation, half my staff of 13 will have to be retrenched.
“I guess they’re trying to reduce alcohol consumption, but all they’re going to achieve is the proliferation of illegal trading,” Brownstone said.
He said people who worked in
town and returned to their homes further away in the late afternoon would probably not be able to buy liquor as the stores would already be closed, and would buy from unlicensed outlets.
Caroline Rillema, a co-owner of Caroline’s Fine Wine Cellar, who had a store in the V&A Waterfront and a second in Strand Street in the CBD, said the by-law had forced her to close her Waterfront store.
“There’s no point in having a shop in the Waterfront if we can’t trade on a Sunday... Now the tourists will have no decent shop to buy wine from in the Waterfront,” Rillema said.
Rema van Niekerk, an executive officer at the Federated Hospitality Association of SA which represents establishments where liquor is consumed on the site, including restaurants and hotels, said it had been involved in drafting the by-law.
“We do not anticipate any job losses and would however only know the real impact the by-law will have on our industry once it has come into force on (April 1),” she said.