Changes to alcohol licensing come into effect
Licensed premises in Northern Ireland can now apply for later opening hours
The first phase in a number of reforms to alcohol licensing has become law. The key changes are:
- pubs and hotels can apply to open until 2am up to 104 nights per year
- smaller pubs will be able to open to 1am up to 104 nights per year
- drinking-up time is increased to 1 hour
- all additional restrictions on opening hours over Easter weekend are removed
- removal of restrictions on late opening on Sunday
- licensed race tracks are allowed to sell alcohol on Sundays
- registered clubs will be able to open to 1am up to 104 nights per year
A number of other changes are expected to come into effect around April 2022. These include:
- New licence categories: businesses such as craft breweries, distilleries and cideries will be able to apply for a licence to sell alcohol on their premises. There will also be a category for cinemas.
- Children’s certificates: There will be changes to the rules on Children’s certificates, meaning that under-18s events could take place at licensed premises.
- Surrender principle: Rules preventing new licences being granted until an existing licence has been surrendered will be reviewed within one year.
First published 22 September 2021