On 1 April 2015, a new law that regulates the supply and consumption of liquor in public places took effect. Primarily, the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act 2015 (the “Act”) prohibits the consumption of liquor in public places from 10.30pm to 7.00am daily (the “no-public drinking period”). Public places include void decks, parks and pavements. However, public places do not include places where access is restricted to a selected group of persons, such as private condominiums or private quarters of foreign workers’ dormitories.
The no-public drinking period does not apply to the consumption of liquor at, amongst other places:
- licensed premises such as coffee shops, beer gardens, restaurants and bars, during their trading hours (if they are beyond 10.30pm); or
- an event in public places after 10.30pm, if the organiser of the event has obtained the requisite permit under the Act.
Other provisions in the Act include the following areas:
- Liquor licensing: In line with the general restriction on the consumption of liquor in public places during the no-public drinking period, the retail sale hours for take-away liquor must also end at 10.30pm. Under the Act, shorter trading hours may be specified for certain liquor licensees in areas that might pose a more significant risk of public disorder associated with the consumption of liquor.
- Liquor Control Zones: The Minister for Home Affairs has declared Little India and Geylang as the Liquor Control Zones, being areas where there is a heightened risk of public disorder associated with liquor consumption. The Liquor Control Zones are subject to stricter restrictions on the hours for the supply and consumption of liquor. For example, public drinking is banned in these two Liquor Control Zones from 7.00am on Saturdays to 7.00am on Mondays.
- Public drunkedness and enforcement powers: The provisions prohibiting offensive behaviour, including being drunk and incapable of taking care of oneself in a public place, and being drunk and creating public annoyance or disorder, have been migrated from the Miscellaneous Offences (Public Order and Nuisance) Act and the Penal Code to the Act, with no changes to the penalties for such offences.
Under the Act, a police officer is given more powers that enable him to undertake a more calibrated set of enforcement measures based on the circumstances and his assessment of the situation. In particular, a police officer may now direct any individual to leave the public place or premises where he is found, dispose of any liquor in his possession, or issue composition fines in lieu of prosecution. A police officer is also empowered to inspect any individual who has been reasonably suspected of committing an offence under the Act. Any refusal or failure to comply with a police officer in this regard will attract further penalties.
Please click on the links below for materials relating to this development:
- Ministry of Home Affairs press release dated 31 March 2015, Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act to take effect from 1 April 2015, which is available on the Ministry’s website www.mha.gov.sg
- Singapore Police Force FAQs on the Act which are available on the Singapore Police Force website www.spf.gov.sg