Ring in the New Year until 4am

Adult beverages can flow for one hour later this New Year’s Eve, the Liquor Licensing Board has decided.

Every liquor licence holder will be permitted to serve or sell alcohol for one additional hour beyond regular closing times, as specified on their licences, board chair Mitchell Welds said in a news release.

“The extension applies to all seven categories of licences, but different categories have different closing times,” Mr. Welds said.

Other stipulations of licences will still apply.

“Liquor sales and the playing of music must cease during the last 10 minutes of permitted opening hours for retail, hotel, restaurant and beer/wine categories of licenses and all customers must vacate the premises before closing,” he said.

The one-hour extension means nightclubs can stay open well into New Year’s morning, serving liquor until 3.45am and playing music until 4am.

Bars, restaurants and hotels will be able to sell liquor and allow music and dancing until 2am.

Package liquor stores and liquor distributors will be able to stay open until 7pm, 8pm or 11pm, depending on the location.

This time around, New Year’s Eve falls on a Monday, taking the drama out of the board’s decision on serving hours.

Last year, the holiday fell on a Saturday, putting the board in a bit of a touchy situation regarding the Music and Dancing (Control) Law, which does not allow music and dancing in licensed establishments from midnight Sunday and Monday, except for pre-recorded music of a soft, background nature in restaurants and hotels. Legislators amended the law in December 2011 to allow the board discretion to extend music and dancing hours if New Year’s Eve falls on a Saturday. The board then decided to permit bars, restaurants and hotels to stay open until 2am and clubs until 3am for the night.

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