The New Year barrel will roll out at midnight

Hoteliers hosting 31st night revelries will need to get special liquor licences to serve alcoholic beverages to usher in the New Year as the day falls on a full moon Poya Day, Excise officials said.

Excise Chief D.G.M.V Hapuarachchi said the regular law banning the sale of alcohol would be in force on December 31 as it was a Poya Day. He said a licence for the extension of operating hours would be needed for hotels to sell alcohol from midnight to 4 a.m.

Many hotels and party venues hadapplied for such a licence and the department was studying the applications, he said. “This is the first time we are issuing such license since the 2006 alcohol and tobacco act was revised which banned the sale of liquor on Poya days.”

The licence would cost Rs. 500 an hour for the first two hours and after that Rs. 5000 an hour, he said.
The Commissioner General also said that all liquor shops would be closed on December 31 as it was a Poya day.

He warned that special teams had been set up to monitor the illegal sale of liquor on Poya day and tough action would be taken against offenders. They could lose their licence or be fined Rs. 500,000.

Last year the Excise Department earned Rs. 68 million in fines and this year upto November Rs. 70 million.

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