BCC cautions bottle stores

…they are licensed to sell, not allow customers to drink inside

By Lubalethu Ndlovu

Bulawayo City Council (BCC) has threatened to revoke license of bottle stores, if they continue allowing customers to drink inside their premises.

Bottle stores are supposed to sell liquor only and not for revelers to turn them into bars.

Discussing the matter at a council meeting recently, Ward 22 Councillor, Rodney Jele, said people are not allowed to consume alcohol in the bottle stores but should rather buy and drink at their homes, preferably.

He expressed concern that bottle store owners allowed revelers to turn their premises yet they were not allowed to do so.

“Council should start reminding bottle stores that they are only licensed to sell alcohol only, not to have people buy and drink from there. There must be an awareness campaign on what bottle stores are supposed to do. We tend to see worrying behaviours that emanate from those who are drunk, such as urinating in undesignated spots,” he said.

Jele added that in issuing such licenses to prospective bottle store owners, council’s position has to be communicated.

“Those who run bottle stores need to be cautioned that they are only supposed to sell alcohol but not host customers to drink inside,” he said and requested that BCC’s Health Services Department must act on rehabilitating public toilets.

“Look at shopping centers that operate under bus terminuses such as Sekusile in Nkulumane. There is a public toilet leased by someone and people have to pay to use it but under this economic crunch, few can. Then there are several bottle stores operating in that area where combined with those who drink there, it becomes messy,” he added.

The councillor suggested that public toilets ought to be handed over to vendors who operate there on the basis that they clean and maintain them clean for people to use freely.

Ward 4 Councillor Silas Chigora reiterated that bottle stores were awarded licenses on the basis that they only sold alcohol.

“Bottle stores are not supposed to open bottles for their customers, meaning people are not meant to drink there. Revelers are also aware that they are not supposed to drink everywhere they want because the police will pounce on them,” he said.

Chigora advised BCC to limit the issuance of bottle store permits but license spots such as sports bars as they have ablution services.

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