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Bottle Stores Face Closure in Harare CBD

Liquor outlets will not be granted automatic license renewal if their operations pose a threat to public safety

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Bottle Stores Face Closure in Harare CBD

In a move that has sent shockwaves through the local business community, stand-alone bottle stores operating within the Harare Central Business District (CBD) are set to face imminent closure.

This comes after the government announced that it will not be renewing the licenses of all stand-alone liquor stores once their current permits expire.

Starting from June, only liquor stores within supermarkets will be permitted to operate within the CBD.

Speaking to The Sunday Mail, Gabriel Masvora, the Communications and Advocacy Director in the Ministry of Local Government and Public Works, confirmed that all liquor retailing licenses in the Harare CBD will expire on June 30.

He emphasized that the Liquor Licensing Board, in collaboration with the Zimbabwe Republic Police’s licensing inspectorate, is conducting joint compliance inspections to assess outlets selling liquor.

Mr Masvora said:

Specifically for Harare CBD, we have flagged all bottle stores, and all their licenses will not be renewed.

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

Bottle Stores Face Closure in Harare CBD

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Under the new regulations, liquor outlets will not be granted automatic license renewal if their operations pose a threat to public safety.

Businesses must adhere to the stipulated registration requirements, after which the Liquor Licensing Board will process the application, ensuring compliance with outlined criteria.

Authorities have expressed concern over the proliferation of alcohol retail outlets in central Harare, attributing it to low barriers to entry due to minimal capital requirements and licensing fees.

The growth of the informal sector and lax enforcement of liquor licensing and regulations have also contributed to this issue.

The Liquor Licensing Board introduced additional regulations last year, requiring nightclubs to have soundproofing, air conditioning, and insurance to obtain licenses.

Additionally, all nightclubs must display illuminated fire escape signs at all times and provide a sufficient number of water closets and urinals.

Bar countertops and shelves must have a smooth, impervious finish, and firefighting appliances and fire escape facilities should be readily available and indicated by prominent notices.

With the upcoming changes in the CBD, liquor store owners and operators are urged to comply with the new regulations to ensure the safety of the public and the longevity of their businesses.


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