LCC acting public relations manager George Sichimba stated in a statement availed to News Diggers! that the operation was conducted to check compliance levels in bars.
“The combined team of Lusaka City Council (LCC) public health inspectors, council police and state police over the weekend closed 12 bars and apprehended 10 suspected underage age patrons. This was done during an operation conducted in Emmasdale (Devil Street) and Garden Compounds. The operation meant to check on compliance with laws and regulations relating to liquor trade, started at 22:00 hours on Friday last week and ended at 02:30 hours on Saturday. The affected bars were found operating outside stipulated hours, contrary to the Liquor Licensing (Permitted Hours) Regulations of 2012. The law stipulates that bars and bottle stores (retail liquor) must open at 10:00 hours and close at 22:00 hours. Night clubs/social clubs must open at 10:00 hours and close at 24:00 hours, while wholesale liquor must open at 08:00 hours and close at 18:00 hours,” stated Sichimba.
“The only exempted establishments are hotels, lodges, guest houses, restaurants, boarding houses, camps and camp sites, which can sell liquor at any time to clients who are lodging with them and people that are buying food with regards to restaurants. Sadly, most establishments trading in liquor are not operating within the law, hence the operations to check on compliance levels. Apart from operating outside stipulated hours, three bars were also found admitting underage patrons, while two bars were found trading without liquor licenses, contrary to the Liquor Licensing Act No. 20 of 2011. And of the 10 apprehended suspected underage patrons, four were girls and six were boys. The young guzzlers were taken to Emmasdale Police Station and Garden Chilulu Police Post for screening and further action. LCC wishes to warn people operating liquor establishments to always abide by the law in their operations. The council will not relent in its quest to bring sanity in the city and prevent young people from alcohol abuse.”