- POSTED: 18 Dec 2013 23:42
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The reworked measures on the alcohol consumption ban are an improvement from last week's blanket ban, said S R Gopal, vice-chairman of Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA). He also said despite these measures, business in Little India has to go on.
SINGAPORE: The reworked measures on the alcohol consumption ban are an improvement from last week's blanket ban, said S R Gopal, vice-chairman of Little India Shopkeepers and Heritage Association (LISHA).
Mr Gopal said: "In the early days, a lot of tobacco, snuff and chewing gum were sold. The government has banned all these things. But the shops did not close. Business has to go on."
On Wednesday, police said the ban on alcohol consumption in public areas of Little India will continue for up to six months, until the Committee of Inquiry makes its recommendations.
Shops in the area holding retail and wholesale licences will also be able to sell alcohol, though for shorter hours.
For establishments holding public house and beer house licences, the ban on sale and consumption of alcohol will be lifted. But consumption must be within their premises.
Denise Phua, MP for Moulmein-Kallang GRC, said: "Similar measures should also be considered for areas other than Little India with a similar profile of large congregations so that the same impact would also be achieved: to ensure proper safety, law and order."
But Ms Phua said the root causes of migrant workers' congregation must be resolved, by providing alternative recreation spots.
For businesses, LISHA said what is important is that bus services ferrying migrant workers into Little India will continue, even though they will be halved for the moment.
Many other businesses, like provision shops, remittance services and restaurants, count on these customers.
Some vendors Channel NewsAsia spoke to said they accept the measures, but are worried.
Alcohol sales make up as much as one third of the daily sales of some provision shops in Little India.
Some shopkeepers said they wish measures could have been implemented more gradually, so that they would have time to adjust.
Provision shop owner V Ramasamy suggested: "Business will be affected. Maybe government can give some subsidies, better for shopowners."
Saravanan, manager at Nandini’s Restaurant, said: "The food still can sell. I'll have to think about other sources (of income) to improve the business."