Liquor Board extends alcohol sales hours

The Liquor Board has extended alcohol sales hours in retail outlets to 1.00 am, bringing it in line with hotels and night clubs in Samoa.

The decision was outlined in a public notice signed by the Secretary of the Board, Leatigaga Tiatia Liaina with the new sales hours going into effect October 25, 2018.

According to the notice from the Liquor Board, retail stores, hotels and restaurants can now sell alcohol from 6.00 am to 1.00 am from Monday to Friday. However, on Saturday alcohol can only be sold from 6.00 am to 12.00 am midnight. Stores and restaurants are not permitted to sell on Sundays while hotels can do so but only from 10.00 am to 12.00 am midnight.

The notice by the Liquor Board also stated that the new alcohol sales hours will not have any bearing on stores located in villages, where the village councils regulate the sales hours.

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Last year a report by the Samoa Law Reform Commission linked the increasing number of murders, manslaughters and grievous bodily harm connected to alcohol abuse and led the call for reforms in alcohol sales and consumption. 

“Three quarters (approximately 72%) of all murders, manslaughters and grievous bodily harm offences were committed under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs,” stated the report. 

The report by the Commission was in response to a request from the Attorney General in 2014 to review laws relating to the sale and consumption of alcohol. It was submitted to the Parliament for its deliberations last year. 

According to the report, the impact of alcohol in Samoa is significant, and it has often been cited as the main contributing factor to serious offending. Most families and communities have been affected directly or indirectly by harm triggered by excessive alcohol consumption. 

“The review was to deal with a number of issues including adequacy of current alcohol licensing system and its enforcement, availability of cheap alcohol, alcohol taxation and pricing, controlling alcohol content in alcohol, age at which alcohol can be purchased, advertising and promotion of alcohol and responsibilities of parents, Village Fono and churches with respect to adolescent drinking,” stated the report. 

The report also stated that there is no current data available on serious offences, where alcohol was a contributing factor, with many members of the judiciary expressing concern that excessive alcohol use and the availability of cheap alcohol was a common contributory factor to many criminal matters before them. 

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