Egypt Blocks Licenses for Alcohol Sales in Some Urban Areas

Egypt will stop issuing licenses for stores to sell alcoholic drinks in some urban areas, a government official said.

The new rule will apply in satellite cities, newly built districts on the fringes of the main population centers, Nabil Abbas, vice-president of the New Urban Communities Authority, said in a phone interview today. Existing liquor stores in such areas will not be allowed to renew their licenses, he said.

“We cannot allow stores spreading debauchery in our society,” Abbas said. He said the decision reflected “religious, social and health considerations” and came after complaints from residents and city councils requesting a ban.

The measure may add to concerns that restrictions on alcohol will tighten under President Mohamed Mursi, elected in June as the Muslim Brotherhood’s candidate, hurting a tourism industry that is already struggling amid political unrest.

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