Geylang shops expect new alcohol restrictions to hit business hard

SINGAPORE - Geylang shop owners are worried about the new alcohol restrictions for the area.

The Liquor Control Bill introduced in Parliament on Monday will bar retail shops from selling take-away alcohol after 10.30pm. Currently, many can sell alcohol until midnight.

But Geylang retailers will be hit doubly hard if the Bill is passed. Part of the area will be a Liquor Control Zone, where there will be further restrictions similar to those in place at Little India following Dec 8's riot. In Little India now, licensed shops can sell alcohol only up to 8pm on weekends, public holidays and the eve of public holidays.

All 10 retailers in Geylang contacted by The Straits Times said that most of their alcohol sales occur within the hours of between 9pm and midnight. Foreign workers, which make up a bulk of their customers, typically return to their dormitories after work to freshen up and have dinner before heading out for a drink at about 9pm.

Mr Deen Malim, 48, the owner Alfa's Mini-mart in Geylang, said of the new Bill: "It's bad, it's very bad news." He added that alcohol sales make up half of his revenue.

"When customers come to buy alcohol, they also buy other things like snacks. The sale of other items will also be affected."