Nightclubs will close at 1am after Parliament passed the Liquor Amendment Bill today.
29 MPs voted for the Bill, 23 MPs voted against it, while 2 MPs did not cast their vote.
This means the new opening hours for selling liquor are : 11am to 1am for taverns, 1pm to 12am for restaurants daily and nightclubs from 5pm to 1am daily.
Speaking on the Bill, Attorney General Siromi Turaga says the coalition government in its concern with the reports of brawls, robberies and attacks in areas around nightclubs and in special zones in the early hours, intends to reduce the opening hours of nightclubs and other drinking venues.
While opposing the Bill, FijiFirst MP Faiyaz Koya says the special zones were created for a purpose and these are tourism areas.
He says if people remember that nightclubs did not earn anything during the COVID-19 period, and the zones were set up for the tourists and locals when Fiji opened up its borders.
He adds the government cannot use an isolated incident to give justice to amend the law.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Trade, Manoa Kamikamica says he is amazed that the Opposition is against this Bill because they brought it through Parliamentary Standing Order 51, but when they were in power, 318 Bills were passed and 298 Bills came through under Standing Order 51. He says in the last 3-years there was a breakdown in society and one of the major reasons is the opening hours of the nightclubs.
Meanwhile, FijiFirst MP Aliki Bia questioned the Attorney General if they have thought of the people who earn a living from the night life, especially those food stall vendors.
He says if the hours is reduced, the vendors’ income will be reduced and in the end, the whole family suffers.
Turaga says after the passing of the Bill, a commencement date will be appointed by the Minister.
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