Members of the public are invited to have a say on proposals to extend the short-term licences granted for beer tents, pop-up bars and entertainment venues during TT, beyond the festival fortnight.
At present, these occasional licences can cover up to 14 days of TT qualifying and race weeks; a trial proposed for 2020 would allow venues to operate for up to an additional seven days, spread either side of TT.
The Department of Home Affairs has powers under the Licensing Act 1995 (the Act) to make an Order temporarily changing the length of occasional licences for a specific period. Government has launched a public consultation to gather views from those who may be impacted by the change, traders and members of the public.
Minister for Home Affairs Bill Malarkey said:
‘We’ve been considering whether there might be a benefit in allowing temporary bars and venues set up for TT to open for up to three weeks rather than a maximum of two. It would mean locals and visitors could enjoy the facilities a few days ahead of practice week and after the races are over, extending the unique atmosphere of the festival. The TT is growing year on year and many visitors stay on to enjoy the Island after the racing’s over – at present our venues close abruptly when there is still scope to continue.'
‘We are well aware how important the TT period is to the licenced trade – we meet them on a regular basis through the Licensing Forum, and they’re keen that we review the restriction on short term licences of 14 days for this specific period. So we’re exploring with the Department for Enterprise whether extending this period to 21 days would have economic benefits. What’s proposed is a trial, and I’d encourage anyone with views to share them via the public consultation. I’m sure there will be pros and cons, and in conjunction with the Licensing Forum, I can give an assurance we will consider all responses.’
If a trial during next year’s TT is agreed, the Act would be modified to allow occasional licences to be granted from Wednesday 27 May to Tuesday 16 June 2020.
The deadline for submissions to the Consultation on Liquor Licensing (Occasional Licences) Order 2019 closes at 5pm on Friday 1 November 2019.