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National Assembly Votes Against Bill That Would Ban Selling Alcohol After 10pm

Citing impracticality of enforcement and negative effects on tourism, the parliament has rejected a bill proposed by the Ministry of Health to place a curfew on alcohol sales.

Amidst increased consumption and high-profile accidents, some officials had sought to make alcohol sales illegal between 10pm and 8am. The new policy was intended to deter drinking and driving at night, when most alcohol-related accidents in Vietnam happen. However, the bill failed to receive the 50% approval required to pass, with only 224 deputies (46.3%) voting in favor of it.

This is not the first time the country has considered and decided against prohibition-related legislation. Ultimately, concerns from the tourism, F&B and hospitality industries proved too compelling. Representatives from the tourism sector claimed that foreign visitors often go out after 10pm, and not being able to drink would reduce the nation's appeal as a whole. They also argued that people could simply purchase alcohol earlier in the day and consume it later, so the ban wouldn't address the negative effects of drunkenness.

Authorities are currently debating other alcohol-related issues. A proposed draft bill that will be voted on later this month would restrict the times that low-percentage alcohol can be advertised on TV (products with high ABV are already not allowed to be advertised) and ban the sale of alcohol to those under 18, pregnant women and people who are visibly drunk. It's unclear how these elements would be enforced. A ban on the online sale of alcohol was already removed from the draft bill, with officials claiming it's out of step with international trends and would hinder growth in the e-commerce sector.

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