Friday, April 19, 2024

Strict restrictions on the sale of alcohol during Good Friday and Easter weekend

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As the Easter holiday draws near, starting this Good Friday, April 15th, the Belize Police Department has issued a set of regulations focusing on the sale of alcohol during this festive time. The rules address the different types of liquor license holders and other restrictions applying to businesses and individuals. The public is reminded to observe a ‘dry’ Good Friday (no sale of alcoholic beverages), as this is the religious aspect of Easter.

The holiday runs from April 15th through the 18th. Liquor shops and bars must close on Good Friday, and only bona fide guests in hotels are allowed to consume alcoholic beverages within their accommodation. No drinking in public areas is permitted, and any establishment selling alcoholic beverages will face criminal charges. Furthermore, during this period, no liquor shall be exposed for sale.

The ‘dry’ Good Friday mandate and other restrictions are as per section 27 of the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act. Chapter 150 of the Laws of Belize Revised Edition 2020, and Regulation 5 of the Intoxication Liquor Licensing Regulation.

Regulations apply to all liquor licenses

Malt liquor and Cider licenses shall be closed on Good Friday only. The establishment should make sure they have the following in legible letters, ‘Licensed to sell liquor not to be consumed on the premises.’

Shop and/or Beer licenses are to close on Sundays and public or bank holidays (Good Friday and Easter Monday).

Publican’s General license should be closed on Sundays and Good Friday 1PM to 3PM, and 11PM to 9AM. They should have the following writing in legible letters ‘Licensed to sell fermented and spirituous liquors.’

Hotel license should close every day from midnight to 7AM. There can be exceptions if the Chairman of Licensing Board grants permission. Premises with this license, however, are expected to be closed on Good Friday in San Pedro Town. As previously mentioned, they can serve alcoholic beverages to their registered guests only.

Restaurant license holders must close from midnight to 6AM daily.

Member’s Club should close at 3AM and open back at 9AM.

Convenience Store licensed premises are to close at midnight and open at 6AM daily.

Night Clubs licensed establishments are to close at 12-midnight Sundays to Wednesdays and open at 10AM the following day. From Thursdays to Saturdays, night clubs are allowed to be close at 2AM and open at 10AM. Night clubs are required to have male and female security guards onsite.

Special licenses are required to be closed at midnight and open at 10AM.

The law warns that when the establishments are required to be closed, no other person other than the license holder or his employees should be on the premises. During this Easter, liquor licensed premises should expect inspections to assure they adhere to the other rules within the Intoxicating Liquor Licensing Act. Some of these regulations prohibit allowing drunkenness, drug dealing, illegal drug use, and violent, quarrelsome conduct on the premises. Selling intoxicating liquor to a drunken person is also not allowed. Premises should not be used as meeting places for criminal elements. Unlawful games will not be tolerated, and the selling or delivery of liquor to persons under the age of 18 is not permitted within this law. At the same time, sending persons under the age of 18 to purchase or obtain and/or deliver liquor is an offense.

All residents and visitors are encouraged to be safe. Of importance to note is that driving under the influence will not be tolerated throughout the Easter weekend. The San Pedro Traffic Department will also be conducting traffic checkpoints throughout the weekend to prevent driving infractions.
The San Pedro Police Formation will be very active in looking after the island’s safety and its residents, along with the visitors.

For emergencies, contact: San Pedro Police Department at 206-2022, San Pedro Fire Department at 206-2372, Dr. Otto Rodriguez San Pedro Polyclinic at 226-2536.

The San Pedro Sun wishes everyone a happy and safe Easter.

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