New Years: Drink, dance, be merry

Clubs, bars to stay open later

Cayman Islands residents and visitors can now party early into Sunday on New Year’s Day, rather than going home just before the stroke of midnight.  

According to an announcement Wednesday from the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman, the board approved extended operating hours on 31 December into 1 January for most licensed establishments. Typically, bars and clubs must close by midnight on Saturdays and no music and dancing is allowed on Sundays. However, the board has made an exception for this year because New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday.  

The board will allow bars, restaurants and hotels to sell alcohol until 1.30am and play music until 2am on 1 January, 2012.  

Nightclubs are permitted to sell liquor until 2.45am. Music and dancing must end by 3am.  

“License holders are reminded that license stipulations will still be in effect,” a statement from the board read. “Liquor sales must cease during the last ten minutes of the permitted opening hours and all patrons must vacate the premises before closing.”  

Cayman Islands lawmakers approved a change to Cayman’s Music and Dancing (Control) Law allowing the Liquor Licensing Board of Grand Cayman to let music and dancing in local establishments proceed outside normal hours. 

The initial bill brought to the assembly stated those hours could be changed on any day, however it was amended during the Legislative Assembly meeting held last week to state the change will be allowed “only when New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday”.  

The current local law does not allow music and dancing on Sundays between midnight Sunday and Monday. The issue was causing concern among Grand Cayman bar and nightclub owners who would have had to essentially close down just before midnight on New Year’s Eve.  

The board’s approval is subject to the condition that the music will not be heard beyond the boundaries of the property on which it is being played. 

 

Sunday dancing  

The issue has come up once before, five years ago when New Year’s Eve fell on a Sunday.  

At that time, the Cayman Islands government decided not to allow music and dancing – until 12.01am – when Sunday, 31 December, 2006, ended and Monday, 1 January, 2007, began.  

Cabinet members at the time said lawmakers decided on what they believed was a sensible approach, honouring religious and cultural norms while balancing the importance of New Year’s Eve activities for those residents and visitors who wish to celebrate at licensed establishments.  

The Music and Dancing (Control) Law forbids the playing of music on Sundays in establishments licensed to serve alcohol except for pre-recorded music of a soft, background nature in restaurants and hotels.  

Nightclubs are typically not allowed to play music at all on Sundays. 

party girls

New Year’s Eve revellers can stay out at places like Elements nightclub until 3am now. – Photo: Stephen Clarke

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