New alcohol licensing laws welcomed
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MLA Dolores Kelly also welcomed the easing of licensing restrictions over Easter.
She said the legislation should also go further to provide the opportunity for breweries and craft distilleries to sell their products on-site.
“The liberalisation of the North’s antiquated licensing laws is long overdue and the SDLP has been pressing for reform for some time. This legislative change will provide vital support for the hospitality industry, which is needed now more than ever, as it deals with and seeks to recover from COVID-19.
“The local hospitality industry supports thousands of jobs, contributes £1.2bn every year to our economy and is a key cornerstone of our growing tourism industry. Modernising our licensing laws is critical to the continued growth in this key sector. But it also speaks to our values as an open, modern society.
“Publicans and the public will be particularly pleased at proposals to remove the antiquated and draconian restrictions on Easter opening. The current crisis has also highlighted the need for legislation that contains in-built flexibilities that allow the hospitality industry to respond to whatever the future may throw at us.
“The legislation is not perfect however and I am disappointed that the Minister did not take the opportunity to push the case for reform further to include our breweries and craft distilleries. It is incredible that these businesses, which are leading the charge on sustainability and innovation in the sector are still prevented from selling their products on site. We are tying one hand behind their backs. The SDLP will make the case for amending the bill to reflect these priorities at Committee stage and we’ll continue to support our hospitality sector.”
New leisure centre opens amid strict public health guidelines Read the story here-
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