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Actis raises concerns as conservative majorities in municipalities push for relaxed alcohol policies

Actis Raises Concerns as Conservative Majorities in Municipalities Push for Relaxed Alcohol Policies
Inger Lise Hansen

17.04.2024 - Actis reports that several large municipalities with a conservative majority are currently liberalizing their alcohol policies.

It is the newspaper Vårt Land that has highlighted the licensing wave sweeping across the country.

Hair salons and stores as "licensed premises"

In a number of Norwegian cities where the Conservative and Progress parties gained power last year, a relaxation of alcohol policies is underway. In the months following the election, several have introduced a maximum serving time until 3:00 AM. Some also want to make hair salons and stores into "licensed premises," the newspaper writes.

In Sandnes, with nearly 84,000 inhabitants, the Conservative and Progress parties are making it possible for hairdressers, skincare salons, clothing, and bookstores to apply for licenses to serve beer, wine, and spirits. In Larvik, similar measures are at the planning stage – including allowing alcohol serving at libraries. In Oslo, a licensing provision for "commercial enterprises" will soon be up for consultation.

Wrong direction

Inger Lise Hansen, Secretary General of Actis, believes that municipalities are undermining the national alcohol policy goals of reducing alcohol consumption.

"The development is going in completely the wrong direction. National goals for reduced alcohol consumption are clear. And it is a weakness of Norwegian policy that municipalities can undermine these goals," she says.

And she continues:

"We need clearer national restrictions to prevent people from encountering alcohol in every context and at places that have so far been considered alcohol-free zones. Therefore, we will challenge the new Minister of Health to take action and tighten national regulations. Business policy cannot trump health policy in alcohol issues."

Inger Lise Hansen believes that politicians, instead of removing alcohol-free zones, should ensure that parks, beaches, and other important public areas remain alcohol-free. Here, families, children, and young people must be able to be without having to deal with others' alcohol use.

Must reduce the national serving time to 2:00 AM. In Bergen, new alcohol regulations are out for consultation. Among other things, the city council wants to extend the sale of alcohol in stores on Easter, Pentecost, and New Year's Eve until 6:00 PM. In Oslo, they want to lift the regulation that says alcohol cannot be served before 12 PM on Sundays, public holidays, and special holidays like May 1st and May 17th.

"Kiwi and Rema should not be allowed to sell beer until six o'clock on Christmas Eve, and venues should not be allowed to start serving as early as six in the morning on May 17th. These are children's days, and that must count for more than business interests," says Hansen.

She also has one final demand:

"It is documented that reducing serving times from three to two o'clock in the morning leads to less violence and makes nightlife safer. Our demand is that the government must reduce the national serving time to two o'clock."


Source: Actis

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