Santa Claus is coming – your guide to trading over the holiday season

This article originally appeared in QHA Review magazine, December 2018 edition

Christmas trees, candy canes and carols – it’s that time of year again!

The holiday period is a great trading period for our venues, and where better to host a Christmas party or to catch up with friends than at some of the great pubs around Queensland?

As we get closer to the break, it is important that you remain vigilant and aware of your responsibilities so you and your employees can be prepared for the silly season and have a stress-free run.

When can you trade during the Christmas period?

As you may be aware, around Christmas and New Year’s your trading hours vary. 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.

In relation to the sale and supply of liquor, the trading hours permitted under the Liquor Act 1992 are as follows:

  1. Christmas Eve: Regardless of whether your premises is approved to trade past midnight, 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 10pm or 12 midnight.
  2. Christmas Day: You may re-commence serving liquor between the hours of 10am and 12 midnight on Christmas Day. However, liquor must only be sold in conjunction with a meal in a part of the premises that is “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 prepared, served and intended to be eaten at your premises. Accordingly, in order to consume liquor, patrons must be ordering “full size” meals rather than “starters”, and must not be having “take-away” food.

    If this is the case, then 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.

  3. 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 10am on Boxing Day. Accordingly, gaming must not be conducted on Christmas Day.

When can you trade over New Year’s?

New Year’s Eve is a different set of rules for trading all over again. On New Year’s, all licensees are permitted to trade until 2am without having to obtain specific approval from the Office of Liquor And Gaming Regulation for extended trading hours.

This means that you may continue to sell and supply liquor until 2am, regardless of your approved trading hours. However, if your premises is approved for extended trading hours after 2am, 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 contact me on 3224 0230.

“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.”
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