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Your guide to Christmas and New Year's trading hours

To be published in the December January 2021/2022 edition of the Queensland Hotels Association's QHA Review.

As venues prepare for a variety of functions and festivities that the silly season brings, we thought it was timely for a quick reminder on the Christmas and New Year's trading restrictions under the Liquor Act.

While your premises is approved for certain trading hours every day, your liquor licence specifically states that this excludes Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and New Year’s Eve. On these days, your trading hours are those prescribed under the Liquor Act 1992.

The trading hours permitted for each day are:

Christmas Eve

The sale and supply of alcohol must finish at 12 midnight on Christmas Eve. Your patrons are still allowed the 30-minute grace period after 12 midnight in which to finish their drinks but must leave the premises by 12.30am on Christmas Day.

Takeaway sales continue as normal under the liquor licence to the designated end time. Depending on when your licence was approved, this will generally be until 10.00pm or 12 midnight. However, the hours prescribed on your liquor licence prevail over all else.

Christmas Day

You may re-commence serving liquor between the hours of 10.00am and 12 midnight on Christmas Day. However, liquor must only be sold in conjunction with meal areas of the premises that are “ordinarily set aside for dining”.

A “meal” is defined as “food eaten by a person at a fixed structure used as a table, with cutlery provided for the purpose of eating the food and is of a sufficient substance to be ordinarily accepted as a meal”. The meal must also be of full size, prepared, served, and intended to be eaten at your premises.

Patrons can purchase liquor while eating their meal, as well as for one hour before and one hour after finishing their meal. It is important that your staff monitor patrons closely in relation to this to ensure compliance.

You are not permitted to sell takeaway alcohol on Christmas Day.

Boxing Day

Boxing Day is the day that your trading hours go back to normal, and you may continue trading your usual trading hours under your liquor licence.

In relation to gaming, all gaming machines must stop at 12 midnight on Christmas Eve and cannot re-commence until 10.00am on Boxing Day. Accordingly, gaming must not be conducted on Christmas Day.

However, on Boxing Day, gaming hours revert as stated above.

New Year's

On New Year’s, all licensees are permitted to trade until 2.00am without having to obtain specific approval from the Office of Liquor and Gaming Regulation for extended trading hours.

This means you may continue to sell and supply liquor until 2.00am, regardless of your approved trading hours. And if your premises is approved for extended trading hours after 2.00am, then you may continue trading until the end of those trading hours.

If you need any assistance or advice in relation to your obligations during the Christmas period, please don’t hesitate to give me a call on 07 3224 0230.

From me and my team here at Mullins, we wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, and we look forward to visiting many of you in the new year.

Article written by Curt Schatz (Managing Partner) 

"The content of this publication is for reference purposes only. It is current at the date of publication. This content does not constitute legal advice and should not be relied upon as such. Legal advice about your specific circumstances should always be obtained before taking any action based on this publication."