Bars now have new opening hours
New opening hours for bars and taverns have now been gazetted and are in effect, following amendments to the Spirit Licence Act in Parliament last November.
A Jamaica Gazette Supplement dated Thursday, December 20, included The Spirit Licence (Opening Hours of Licensed Premises) Order, 2012 issued by the minister of justice, Mark Golding.
According to the Order, the new opening hours for licensed premises are as follows: Town retail house (bars) - between 7:00 am and 12:00 midnight other than Sundays, and between 3:00 pm and 11:00 pm on Sundays; Taverns - between 7:00 am and 12:00 midnight on weekdays, and between 3:00 pm and 11:00 pm on Sundays; Hotels - between 7:00 am and 12:00 midnight.
Bars and Taverns, which acquire a special licence to operate for extended hours for functions/events, can remain open until 2:00 am.
Section 34 of the Act was repealed in November giving the minister the authority to issue orders prescribing (a) the hours for keeping open premises licensed under the Act; (b) subject to section 35, the extended hours in respect of which the superintendent (of police) may grant a special licence for keeping open premises licensed under this Act; and (c) the days on which premises licensed under the Act, are permitted to be open for the activities authorised under the licence. The repeal of Section 34 of the Act nullified the previous opening hours.
The amendment to section 35 of the Act stated:
"It shall be lawful for the superintendent, on an application being made to him in writing, to grant any licensed retailer or tavern keeper within the parish a special licence to keep his premises open until the hours prescribed by the minister pursuant to section 34(b), being an hour not later than two o'clock in the morning on any special occasion and for any special reason; but such licence shall only apply for the day for which it is granted and the proof of any such special licence in any proceedings taken for an offence against this Act shall be on the defendant."