THE Kabwe Municipal Council has directed the immediate closure of all retail liquor shops in Kabwe to prevent the spread of the Coronavirus and the abrogation of the Liquor Licensing Act.

In a letter dated March 28, 2020, acting Director of Public Health Rodney Banda stated that the inspection conducted in Kabwe on Friday and Saturday revealed that customers of the liquor shops bought the alcohol and consumed it in public places like car parks, roads and other areas.

“Guidelines for operation of liquor shops dated March 26, 2020 indicated that you can operate subject to conditions in a bid to prevent Covid-19. However, the inspections around the city conducted in the evening of Friday, March 27, 2020 and during the day on Saturday March 28, 2020 revealed that patrons buy the liquor and consume in public places such as car parks, roads and other places. Section 32 (1) of the Liquor Licensing Act Number 20 of 2011 states that, ‘A person shall not consume liquor in a public place other than licensed premises’. Section 46 (3) of the said Act further states that, ‘A person who aids and abets another person in the commission of an offence under this section, or who is an accessory to the commission of the offence commits an offence’,” Banda stated.

“Therefore, the sale of liquor in retail liquor shops is calculated to aid commission of the offence of drinking in a public place. Furthermore, the consumption of liquor in the aforesaid manner also results in public gatherings prohibited under Regulation of Statutory Instrument Number 22 of 2020.”

He stated that failure to close the retail liquor shops would lead to legal action.

“In order to prevent the spread of Covid-19 and the abrogation of the Liquor Licensing Act, all premises trading as Retail Liquor Shops are hereby closed with immediate effect till further notice. Failure to comply will lead to legal action,” stated Banda.