Three weeks ago, on advice from the Liquor Board, police issued closure notices to six popular nightclubs in Apia. Complaints from Apia village matai about underage drinking, fights, damage to property and the clubs operating beyond the midnight curfew were given as the justifications for the decision. As best I can ascertain, these were general complaints; there was not a single specific incident to which the Liquor Board referred in making their decision.
On Tuesday this week the Liquor Board ended two weeks of deliberations and decided to extend the closure period for a further three months. The decision, according to chairman Tuu'u Anasi'i Leota, would allow the board "to look at the social impact of our decision." They don't need three months to see the social impact; it's started already.
The first "social impact" of the board's decision is the immediate unemployment of almost 100 workers. Of the six nightclubs, only Lighthouse has been able to retain all of their staff because of the catering business they also operate.
With ongoing expenses such as rent, electricity, water and National Provident Fund contributions to staff, and unable to generate income, it's looking increasingly likely that a number of the clubs will simply shut down. Perhaps the next social impact the board can expect to see will be a strip of rundown, vacant buildings right in the heart of Apia.