Under the new rules for the hospitality sector, food and alcohol cannot be served beyond 10.30pm, with all customers having to have vacated the premises by 11pm. The rules come into force from midnight tomorrow (30 September).
Reacting to this morning’s statement at the Northern Ireland Assembly, Colin Neill, chief executive at Hospitality Ulster said: “We welcome the fact that the earlier time of 10pm has been dismissed, but 11pm still means that doors have to be shut by that time.
“The sector is going to lose hours, it’s losing staff and it has lost live music and needs to be given a fighting chance. A curfew is not ideal, but we in the hospitality sector will do all we can to make this work, which hopefully will be only a temporary measure.”
The decision is likely to heighten calls by the hospitality sectors in the other UK countries to extend or even scrap the current 10pm curfew, which has led to people flooding the streets in major cities and continuing to socialise and drink having purchased alcohol from shops.