Ban on late-night alcohol sales: what's your say?

Update: October, 14/2016 - 09:00

Last week, Việt Nam News asked its readers about a proposal of a ban on sales of liquor and beer after 10pm, aiming to reduce the negative impacts of drinking. Here are some of their ideas:

Andrew Burden, Canadian in Hà Nội

Late night drinking cannot be solved by locking the fridge at 10pm. Sales will go underground. People will start home brewing. It’s counterintuitive, but you should open up 24/7.

CNN just reported about a ‘night mayor’ (as opposed to nightmare) in Amsterdam. The idea is he goes around with uniformed volunteers, acting as dad, friend, and unofficial tour guide. He and his volunteers  help people into taxis and step between rowdy drunks ready to fight.

Of course no one should get drunk, but when you have one drink, your thinking becomes fuzzy and it’s easy to order another, then another. It’s really up to the bar to cut you off. Maybe by midnight there should be low alcohol-content drinks or drinking-with-food orders only?

When I was a young buck, I came up with the idea to show my army ID when I drove through a police check stop on my motorbike. I reasoned that if I could walk straight enough to my bike, and flip my ID, cops would think I was sober.

That worked ½ dozen times. Smart, eh?

I would like to see practical, real-world applied education topics in high school, including sex education, substance safety, internet overuse, and my favourite Vietnamese pet peeve: learning how to swim, as literally hundreds of kids die each year from drowning.

I’ll drink to that!

Hoàng Công Thành, Hà Nội

Is it true? Hà Nội recently lifted its midnight curfew until 2am instead of 12pm to serve tourists. The ban is going in the opposite direction. The ban could force businesses to find loopholes to keep selling liquor and beer.

You can imagine how fun the nightlife would be: "Now we can stay open until 2am, but we must serve juice and water after 10pm!"

If properly enforced, it could have a positive effect on public safety. However, alternative approaches such as alcohol taxation have proven effective and should be considered as complementary options.

Đoàn Khắc Tới, Bắc Ninh

I know many countries around the world have curfews for the sale of alcoholic drinks. But I think the ban should be only applied in specified areas. Authorities in provinces and cities across the country should tightly control beer and liquor supply and implement other more effective measures. This proposed law is petty in terms of solving a health problem, and will cause black market alcohol sales and cost increases at legitimate stores and bars.

It will never materialise if passed by the Government, because there is too much at stake for patrons of bars, clubs and restaurants, as well as the whole economy.

Glenn John, Philippines

Consumption of alcoholic beverages should not be limited or regulated. The banning of night sales will tremendously harm the economy and disrupt the behavioral patterns of patrons, thus hampering the country’s growth and potentially creating a divide between the Government and its people. Why not increase the liquor tax instead of limiting sales? Both parties would end up as winners there.

Nguyễn Như Mai, Hà Nội

This should be interesting. Alcohol abuse seriously impacts human health, creates social problems, and impairs working ability. I’ve seen a few fights among men that have been drinking, becayse alcohol of course makes people unable to control their behavior. Sad stories of the effect of alcohol abuse are nothing new to Vietnamese people.

Aidan Christian, a reader

If all bars are required to stop serving at 10pm then there will be an influx of drunk people hitting the streets at 10pm, rather than meandering their way home gradually during the evening. People will buy alcohol before 10pm to consume after 10pm - there will be people on the streets drinking alcohol from bottles. Enforcement will be focused on larger bars, but the backstreet beer houses that aren’t licensed anyway won’t care.

I’m pretty sure there’s a ban on driving through red lights, which is EXTREMELY effective.

There’s absolutely no way that this will result in increased coffee money for police. No way at all.

Lưu Văn Hưởng, Quảng Ninh

I wonder how such provisions would actually be imposed, especially in rural areas. It is very interesting, but it’s also necessary to consider all the positive and negative aspects, such as whether it will affect tourism and whether implementation and sanctions will actually have the expected effect.

Everyone knows the negative impact of tobacco—with many awful photos about the diseases caused by smoking—but people still use it.

What agencies will be around after 10pm to punish those buying and selling alcohol? What would happen to people buying quantities of alcohol before 10pm and then drinking it into the early hours?

It appears that we are banning things we can’t control.

In Quảng Ninh, a coastal province, can you enjoy a seafood dish without beer or wine at the beach late night?

You can enjoy seafood with juice or water???

Lê Khanh, Hà Nội

I don’t think the ban could be enforced. We don’t have enough inspectors to implement the ban, and it would be easy for residents to buy all their alcohol before 10pm to avoid the ban.

In my opinion, the solution is to increase the tax on alcohol, which can give us more money for the State budget. We also need more public awareness on the consequences of alcohol abuse. We can also increase fines on those who use alcohol during work-hours and drivers.

Nguyễn Tiến, HCM City

I don’t think the ban is the best choice to limit the negative impact of alcohol abuse. The attraction of Việt Nam is street life. How does the country attract more tourists by banning the late-night alcohol sales? Can you imagine the night life in cities like Hà Nội or HCM City without street food and beer just as many walking streets have been set up in the weekend in Hà Nội and HCM City?

A street party will be more interesting if you have a cup of beer or wine with your friends.

In addition, this proposal will financially affect not only our association’s turnover, but also a number of bars and restaurants nationwide. - VNS