The Sri Lanka Medical Association (SLMA) has called on the government to suspend the approval granted to reopen liquor bars amid the quarantine curfew. This has been requested from Finance Minister Basil Rajapaksa in a written communique.
Allowing the opening of liquor bars despite restrictions imposed against the Covid-19 pandemic could be leading to a number of health, social and economic problems, the Union pointed out, adding that ordinary people have begun to queue themselves at liquor stores in violation of curfew and health guidelines.
The reopening of liquor bars could also be leading to certain family grudges and thus soaring domestic violence and child abuse due to men’s tendency of spending money on alcohol, which were being saved amid economic hardships triggered by the pandemic, the Union pointed out.
The decision to reopen the bars for the sole purpose of increasing tax revenue is not practical in the event that people are spending more money on liquor than what the government could earn via the sale, the SLMA went on, adding that the sale of alcohol online is a violation of the National Tobacco and Alcohol Act, thereby urging Minister Rajapaksa to immediately reverse the decision.