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Liquor trading trial a step forward for night economy

Release Date: 2/09/2020
The Hunter Business Chamber has welcomed the green light for a trial of extended trading hours for small bars and restaurants in Newcastle.
City of Newcastle councillors last night voted to support the trial, which was suggested after a recent meeting between industry stakeholders and the Minister for Customer Service, Vic Dominello, hosted by the Hunter Business Chamber.
“This is a sensible move that reflects the maturing of the city’s night economy and will assist one of the industries that has been hardest hit by the pandemic,” Mr Hawes said.
“It will also help create more jobs for young people at a time when youth unemployment is at its highest levels since the BHP shutdown.
“Bar owners who spoke at the meeting with the Minister said the current trading conditions were restricting their ability to retain staff during COVID, or take on new employees, because they are forced to close their venues at the time of night which is potentially most profitable.
“It is not reasonable for a small bar to not be able to serve cocktails after 10pm, or to have to call last drinks at 11.30pm, when that is their prime trading period.

“A lot of these businesses were trading on slim margins before coronavirus and the pandemic-related restrictions have made things much worse.

 “The relaxation of licensing restrictions will provide a more viable business environment for new and existing operators of licensed premises, further encouraging the growth and diversification of the city’s night economy and supporting Newcastle’s continued development as a tourist destination.
“While signs of a resurgence from the COVID shutdown are encouraging, the CBD still has a long way to go to be back to pre-pandemic levels of activity and this measure will hopefully  help encourage people back to the venues.”

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