Changes to alcohol licensing in time for Christmas

Monday 21st November 2022 6:00 pm
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A joint press conference hosted by the Isle of Man Licensed Victuallers Association and the Isle of Man Restaurateurs’ Association - pictured speaking Andy Saunders of Quids Inn (Isle of Man Newspapers )

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The government has made changes to its alcohol licensing legislation.

The regulations make the process of getting a licence more ‘straightforward’ and ‘flexible’.

The changes reduce the amount of administration involved in the licensing process and improving the monitoring of the licences.

Licensed Vintners Association chairman Andrew Saunders said: ‘All of those at the LVA and those who work in the industry, Heron and Brearley etc, have all taken a huge part in building this new licensing act.’

The changes will come in from December 12.

Mr Saunders added: ‘It will be easier for us to get occasional licences and easier for us to keep staff training up to date.

‘It’s basically making it easier for us to support hospitality in all forms and alcohol sales.’

Licence requirements for special occasions and special events will now be more clearly defined, and the maximum length of alcohol or public entertainment licences for events has now been extended from 14 days to 16

Minister for Justice and Home Affairs Jane Poole-Wilson MHK said: ‘We hope that these changes will improve the process of licensing, to complement the high standards already in place across the hospitality industry.’

These regulations have been in the works for the best part of a decade and intensively for the last four years.

Mr Saunders described the previous legislation as ‘outdated’.

He said: ‘Establishments are no longer just run-of-the-mill food and drink or a place to go and drink, you need to have entertainment.

‘It’s very much more about creating a community atmosphere in the pubs rather than just somewhere people go because that’s where they spend all their time.’

The new regulations now sets out exemptions from requirement to hold a licence.

This includes philanthropic, charitable or non-profit entertainment events held at a location that usually host entertainment.

However, businesses will have a formal ‘grace period’ until June 30 to make an application to transition to the new rolling licences.

Mr Saunders said: ‘It’s very much an enabling act. Do you know how difficult it is for pubs to get occasional licences?

They have to go to courts and lots of advertising in papers and such just to do a wedding for someone in a marquee.

‘It will make all of those kind of events easier for us to achieve.

The act will make it easier for pubs to appoint their employees into positions of authority in their business.

An electronic register will be used to document designated officers and responsible people in licensed businesses.

Mr Saunders also explained how it will also make a difference for off-licences.

He said: ‘For example, Shoprite maybe sends three or four people on every licensing course to get designated official status.

‘They won’t need to do that any more. They will be able to appoint approved people, who have been through the Manx licensing training and everything.

‘They be able to be approved by the police without having to do court appearances every time.’

Mrs Poole-Wilson said: ‘Government will continue to work closely with the industry and listen to feedback, with an aim to develop more flexible options for mobile and events licences that work for everyone.’

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