Liquor and Gaming NSW has confirmed licensed premises trading hours for the festive season, with all hotels, clubs, bars and restaurants able to open until 2am on New Year’s Eve and 11pm trading for takeaway sales on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve.
Last week extended hours were confirmed for takeaway liquor trading on Christmas Eve, but this extension now extends to licensed premises and to New Year’s Eve. Special arrangements have been needed this year due to Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve falling on a Sunday when venues have earlier standard closing times.
The changes mean venues can trade until 2am on New Year’s Eve despite more restrictive Sunday night closing times that may apply under development consents. The Government is also moving to allow hotels and clubs to open until 11pm this Christmas Eve.
The Sydney CBD and Kings Cross restriction on patrons being admitted to venues after either 1.30am or 2am does not apply on New Year’s Eve.
AHA NSW Director of Liquor and Policing John Green, told TheShout: “This is a logical decision which will help streamline venue operations on New Year’s Eve across NSW – the alternative would’ve been unworkable.
“We look forward to a decision on Christmas Eve operations which will allow patrons additional time to share a drink with friends to celebrate the festive season.”
The 11pm trading for takeaway alcohol sales on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve will be available to businesses that can trade until 11pm on other week days. Bottle shops and other packaged liquor licensees can also open earlier from 8am on Christmas Eve.
LSA Executive Director Michael Waters welcomed the ruling, saying: “As we all know, whenever Christmas Eve falls on a Sunday, so too does New Year’s Eve, so it was a ‘no-brainer’ that this was sorted out once and for all, and we sincerely thank L&GNSW and Minister Toole for their swift efforts in pushing through our application for these common sense amendments, which will no doubt be welcomed by liquor retailers, and their customers, as they prepare for a busy festive trading period.”
Liquor and Gaming NSW also said that its inspectors will have a strong presence in venues across the state over the festive season to ensure everyone can enjoy safer nights out.
Key areas to be targeted include Sydney CBD and surrounds, eastern suburbs and beaches, Newcastle, Wollongong and Byron Bay.
Liquor & Gaming NSW Director of Compliance Operations, Sean Goodchild, said inspectors will be monitoring hotels, clubs, nightclubs, bottle shops and cruise vessels to check that responsible service of alcohol obligations are being met.
“We want to ensure venues provide a safe environment for people to celebrate over the festive season with the lowest possible risk of alcohol-related harm,” Mr Goodchild said.