No liquor sale at Tekka Food Centre after 6pm on Sunday
HAWKERS at Tekka Food Centre in Little India are protesting against a further restriction of their liquor-sale operation hours, saying it will drastically affect their takings.
According to a notice they reportedly received from the police, from Aug 1, affected hawkers will have their operating hours for the sale of liquor cut from 6am to 11.59pm to 6am to 6pm on Sundays.
Several hawkers told Chinese daily Lianhe Wanbao in a report yesterday that sales on Sunday nights are substantial for their businesses and even those who sell only food are worried that crowds may thin.
One hawker, 44-year-old He Yueying, told Wanbao that hawkers received a letter last Friday confirming that the operating hours for the sale of liquor will be revised to about six hours earlier than the current end-time of 11.59pm.
According to Ms He, most of the customers there are foreign workers, and as they rest on Sundays, it is the best time for hawkers to generate more sales.
She added that 60 per cent of her monthly earnings comes from Sundays.
Another hawker, Mr Lu, said there are usually not many customers at the hawker centre, and that Sundays are the days which pull in business.
Wanbao understands that only Tekka Food Centre liquor sellers are affected by this new change, and that other coffee shops and convenience stores nearby have not received the same notice.
The new move affects not only liquor sellers but also food sellers, who say that their customers usually have liquor along with their meals.
Noodle seller Li Xuehua, 51, who sells ban mian to customers in the morning and fried chicken to foreign workers at night, who eat it with liquor, said the new rule would be a blow to business.
Western stall hawker Mr Guo, 60, added that customers will not patronise the food centre on Sunday nights if alcohol is not permitted to be sold.
He hopes that the authorities will increase security instead of further restricting liquor-sale hours.
Consumption of liquor in public places was restricted daily from 10.30pm to 7am from April 1 last year under the Liquor Control (Supply and Consumption) Act (LCA).
Geylang and Little India were designated as Liquor Control Zones, with additional restrictions on consumption of liquor in public places from 7am on Saturdays to 7am on Mondays, and from 7pm on eves of public holidays to 7am the day after the public holiday.
However, there are different trading hour categories for establishments such as beer houses, liquor retail stores and eateries.
A police spokesman told My Paper yesterday that they have received "positive feedback from community partners and residents" that measures under the LCA have been "effective in maintaining public order and preventing disamenities in most neighbourhoods".
However, the police added that they have also "received feedback on the congregation of alcohol drinkers at Tekka Food Centre on Sunday evenings".
"The large congregations of drinkers within confined areas pose law and order risks. This will also impact other patrons who visit the centre for dinner," said the spokesman.
The new restriction will affect 10 liquor licensees at Tekka Food Centre.
The spokesman acknowledged receiving "representations from some of the affected liquor licensees" while one official appeal has been lodged with the Liquor Appeal Board.