Ministry of Industry, Commerce, and Employment (MoICE) has issued a directive on 16 October to all business owners, instructing them to adhere to standardized operating hours nationwide.
According to Lyonpo Karma Dorji, “Previously, different dzongkhags had different closing times for businesses. Now, all dzongkhags will follow the same operating hours.”
In the past, in Paro, bars closed at 10 pm, while karaoke and discotheque remained open until midnight or 1 am.
In Thimphu Throm, discotheques had varying closing times, such as 1 am on Wednesdays and 3 am on weekends.
“As for religious or any other functions, the local government can extend timing through a written notification, however, no one can reduce the standard operating hours,” Lyonpo added further.
Under these new guidelines, places of entertainment, including karaoke, discotheque, Live music, and snooker/billiard, are required to close by 3:00 am, while restaurants serving wine and alcoholic beverages should close by midnight (12:00 am).
Additionally, certain areas, like Phuentsholing Throm, will maintain a 24/7 business schedule until further notice.
Places of entertainments are allowed to operate every day of the week.
The ministry’s objective is to establish consistent business hours throughout the country, promoting uniformity and clarity in business operations.