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Draft law bans restaurants from serving alcohol after 10 p.m.
The Saigon Times Daily
Monday,  Jul 9, 2018,14:48 (GMT+7)

Draft law bans restaurants from serving alcohol after 10 p.m.

The Saigon Times Daily

A group of men are seen drinking beer at a party. The Ministry of Health's latest draft law bans restaurants, bistros from serving alcohol between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. - PHOTO: HOA DO

HCMC - The Ministry of Health’s latest draft of a law controlling excessive alcoholic beverage consumption in Vietnam bans alcohol advertising and prevents brewers from sponsoring cultural and sporting events and activities. Further, hotels, restaurants and bistros cannot serve alcoholic drinks after 10 p.m., Phap Luat newspaper reported.

The draft law, which is expected to be submitted to the National Assembly at a sitting by end-2018 and passed early next year, will restrict alcohol sales between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m., excluding areas such as international airports or venues that legally function as food-entertainment-tourism zones. The ban on alcohol advertising and promotion campaigns extends to mass media, social platforms and TV channels targeting children, for liquids with less than 15% alcohol by volume.

Many industry experts, brewers and alcohol vendors have voiced concerns over the new regulations by the health ministry.

Nguyen Van Viet, chairman of the Vietnam Association of Liquor, Beer and Beverages (VBA), noted that the prohibition on advertising and sponsorship for beverages containing no more than 15% alcohol would greatly affect multiple sectors. The State budget will incur major losses in advertising revenue, while the local tourism industry and food-catering services will face severe hardships.

Imposing a ban on alcohol promotion on mass media and social platforms has nothing to do with a reduction in alcohol consumption in the country, said Viet, citing lessons learned from other countries and international reports as examples. The VBA chairman proposed a limitation on alcohol sales in areas surrounding educational venues, healthcare centers and religious sites.

A facility owner selling spirits in HCMC’s Tan Binh District expressed further concerns, noting he would probably have to shut down his business if the draft law is passed. Expats typically visit bistros like his at midnight, and plenty of firms have parties that end very late in the evening, so bistros and restaurants subject to the time restriction on alcohol sales would lose business.

Liquids containing more than 15% alcohol by volume are banned from being advertised due to their negative impact on health, according to the Advertising Law, but enforcing a ban on drinks with alcohol content lower than 15% is illogical, as it means prohibiting all ads related to alcohol, stated lawyer Truong Thanh Duc, member of the standing committee of the Vietnam Association of Corporate Directors.

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