The Liquor Licensing Board is discussing allowing liquor stores in George Town to stay open until 10pm.
Board chairman Mitchell Welds met with Cayman Islands Tourism Association executive director Jane van der Bol and requested the association’s input on the topic ahead of the board’s meeting 13 March.
“I am very pleased that the Liquor Licensing Board, in making a decision like this, would reach out to the CITA to get feedback from our members, rather than having something being put into law and our members not having a say,” Ms van der Bol said.
The association sent an e-mail on 12 March asking members for their opinion on whether allowing liquor stores between Grand Harbour and Governors Square to remain open until 10pm (a change from 7pm) would negatively affect their businesses.
“We had a very good response from our members,” Ms van der Bol said.
She said about 82 per cent of respondents said the later hours would not harm their business, while 18 per cent said the later hours would harm their business.
During the board’s 13 March meeting, before members broke into closed executive session, Mr. Welds told the Caymanian Compass that it would be premature for him to comment on the subject until he and the other board members had a chance to review and discuss the results of the association’s survey.
At the moment, the board’s general policy is to allow liquor stores in the district of George Town to stay open until 7pm, and for liquor stores in the outer districts to stay open until 10pm.
The historic justification for allowing liquor stores farther from town to stay open later is to cater to commuters who may not arrive home in, say, East End, until after 7pm.
Ms van der Bol said she is encouraged by Mr. Welds’ effort to query the opinions of the private sector. “This is a great way to open ongoing lines of communication and promote transparency,” she said.
While liquor stores typically operate under package licences, the new West Indies Wine Company at Camana Bay operates under a retail licence, which is typically used by bars. That means the new wine bar can legally offer alcohol for sale until 10pm on weekdays, midnight Friday and Saturday, and on Sunday afternoon.
Retail licences permit the sale of alcohol for consumption off the premises so long as the alcohol is sold in certain minimum increments – at least 6.82 litres of beer (about 230 ounces) or at least 0.75 litres of wine or spirits.
The same minimum volume restrictions apply to hotel liquor licences – which is the category of licence held by the store on the Treasure Island property, for example.