By Kurulu Koojana Kariyakarawana
Closure of all restaurants and hotels serving alcoholic beverages for over 65-days since the enforcement of countrywide curfew on March 20th, were shown the ‘green light’ to function from yesterday by the Department of Excise provided they come under the Tourist Board Approved category.
A senior Excise official told the Daily Mirror yesterday that permission has been granted to all Tourist Board Approved FL 11 Licence holding star class hotels and restaurants to function forthwith and to commence selling liquor. This order has been given to all wine stores and liquor shops located inside retail supermarket chains countrywide.
The official said the latest relaxation of the emergency ban on selling liquor has been relaxed for hotels and restaurants if only they possess the Tourist Board Approval, in addition to the mandatory Excise license.
He said not all restaurant or bars that have an Excise license does not possess a Tourist Board Approval, as it is given by the board considering high standards of maintenance of service.
Therefore, the regular bars and restaurants that sell liquor will still be ordered shut until further notice including the pubs at cinema halls as per the restrictions of the health authorities, the official said.
These even include the licensed bars at the leading members’ only sports clubs in Colombo and vicinity, which had been operating for many years that did not require a Tourist Board Approval to function.