What you can or cannot do under the new alcohol law

The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act was passed in Parliament in January and came into force on April 1, 2015. It aims to minimise public disorder and disamenities arising from drinking in public. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG
The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act was passed in Parliament in January and came into force on April 1, 2015. It aims to minimise public disorder and disamenities arising from drinking in public. -- ST PHOTO: JOYCE FANG

The Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act, which was passed in Parliament in January, came into force on April 1. It aims to minimise public disorder and disamenities arising from drinking in public. 

1. What is the law about?

Under the law, drinking is banned in all public places from 10.30pm to 7am. Retail shops are also not allowed to sell takeaway alcohol from 10.30pm to 7am. 

There are stricter rules in Geylang and Little India, which are designated as Liquor Control Zones - places with a higher risk of public disorder associated with excessive drinking. Public drinking is banned in Geylang and Little India from 7am on Saturday to 7am on Mondays. The ban also applies from 7pm on the eve of a public holiday to 7am after the holiday. Shops within the zones are also not allowed to sell takeaway alcohol from 7pm on weekends, the eve of a public holiday and the holiday itself.

2. What is a public place?

A public place is where a person has free access, like HDB void decks, parks, or beaches. Condominiums and chalets are considered private places. 

3. Is there any exception? 

You can continue to drink beyond the restricted hours if you have a valid permit to hold a barbecue at a park by the National Parks Board. But you must drink in the immediate vicinity of the BBQ pit, and can drink only during the duration of the permit. You can apply for the permit online or at an AXS station. If you have booked a pit, you are allowed to use it from 12pm on the day of the permit to 4am on the following day of the booking. 

Drinking after 10.30pm is also allowed at government or statutory board events held for a public purpose, though it is understood that such events usually do not end after 10.30pm.

4. How about at other events? 

Event organisers may apply for a "consumption permit" online or at the Police Land Divisions if drinking beyond the restricted hours may occur. 

5. Does it mean duty-free shops are not allowed to sell alcohol after 10.30pm? 

Yes, duty-free shops are considered retail shops. However, they may apply for an extension of retail sale hours from the police. 

6. What will the police consider in granting a retail shop an extension?

Police will take into account the propensity for public disorder and disamenities in the area, and the additional measures the licensees are prepared to put in place to reduce drinking-related problems.

7. How about at pubs or restaurants or coffee shops? 

People can continue to drink at these licensed premises, which can sell alcohol according to their licences. 

8. What is the penalty for flouting the rules? 

Anyone drinking illegally can be fined up to $1,000 and repeat offenders may be fined up to $2,000 and jailed for up to three months. A shop selling alcohol after the permitted hours could be fined up to $10,000. 

The penalty is 1 1/2 times if one is caught breaking the law in Liquor Control Zones.