Government charges on late night venues should be waived for the next six months to aid the recovery of nightclubs and late bars, according to the Licensed Vintners Association (LVA)

Licensed Vintners Association (LVA) has called on the government to waive charges on late night venues for the next six months in order to aid the recovery of nightclubs and late bars.

Any licensed premises which seeks to open late currently has to make an additional payment to Government of €410 per night for a Special Exemption Order (SEO), allowing them to trade for an additional two hours. For a late night venue that operates five nights a week that represents an extra €8,200 per month. Only venues who meet strict criteria around CCTV, security and public liability insurance are eligible to apply.

Late bars and nightclubs are set to reopen on 22nd October. The LVA estimates there are about 300+ late pubs and nightclubs around the country who have been kept closed, employing approximately 5,000 people.

The LVA proposal would work in a similar fashion to the current liquor license waiver for other hospitality businesses that has been adopted by the Government for 2021.

“While it is great that there is now a date when late bars and nightclubs will be able to open their doors again, it is also true that for many of these venues it will take them a long time to recover,” said Donall O’Keeffe, Chief Executive of the LVA. “There is an opportunity here for the Government to aid the revival of these venues simply by waiving the Government charges involved in Special Exemption Orders.

“Under the LVA proposal the application system would remain the same – any late bar or nightclub would still have to go to Court to secure their SEO and Gardaí would be able to voice any potential objections. The only alteration is that the extra expense imposed by the State would be waived for that period. In that way it would be very similar to the liquor licence waiver the Government has provided for the rest of the hospitality sector. This is a relatively simple step for the Government to take and would also be an important saving for cash strapped businesses.

“Another benefit of this approach is that it will provide a window for full consideration of the Night-time Economy Taskforce Report, which is due to be published shortly and will have a significant bearing on the future of late bars and nightclubs. As part of that process the LVA has sought to have SEO costs reduced and late trading hours extended,” Mr. O’Keeffe said.

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