SOCIAL DISTANCING IGNORED BY CUSTOMERS WHEN LIQUOR SHOPS OPENED
Posted on May 17th, 2020

By M D P DISSANAYAKE

Asking people to maintain social distance and at the same time opening the liquor shops will ruin the progress achieved so far in combating COVID 19.  Most of our people don’t enjoy a drink, they simply drink it as a glass of water, without mixing with soda, water, etc.  Rarely they use ice as a supplement.

The eagerness to have a drink they could not enjoy for the past several weeks was clearly demonstrated by a large number of queues outside bars, from the early hours of the morning.

A most important element of Sri Lankan drinking is that they naturally drink with friends an unlimited quantity, with a famous bite, Beef, Pork, or Chicken devil.    With curfews operating at night times from 8 pm, they gather in private residences in groups of friends, similarly to a Club environment.  They drink almost till 3 or 4 am. The Police raids are unlikely to enter private residences during curfew hours to arrest these culprits.

South Korea, which has controlled COVID 19,  relaxed the social distancing and opened Clubs and Bars a couple of days ago.  There is a sudden surge of infected persons since the relaxation 2 days ago.   This has prompted the South Korean government to close Bars and Clubs and re-introduce social distancing.

We urge the President and the Prime Minister to close all Bars and Clubs for an indefinite period of time.   Dr. Anuruddha Padeniya recently confirmed that the damage to the national economy, health, safety, criminal activities as a result of liquor consumption could be as high as 7 times greater than the revenue otherwise generated from selling liquor.  

For man Sri Lanka the kick from liquor is not enough.  Liquor does not work itself alone for them.   Sri Lankan drink Gal Arak, mix with Three Coins or Larger Beer.   This opens a market for Drug Runners, who sell large quantities to those who are intoxicated.  The recent capture of a massive haul of Drugs is a testimony to assess the size of the local market.

There is a strong case for the closure of liquor shops.

If Messrs Gotabaya and Mahinda cannot stamp out liquor from Sri Lanka, no one will ever be able to do it.

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