Antrim and Newtownabbey Council approves extended Sunday trading over festive period

Large retail outlets in Antrim and Newtownabbey will be allowed to trade longer on Sundays in the run-up to Christmas, it has been agreed.

Wednesday, 2nd December 2020, 2:30 pm

The borough council approved extended opening hours at a remote meeting on Monday evening.

The decision means that retail outlets in excess of 280 sq metres will be able to trade on Sundays from 10.00 am onwards until January 10 when these shops are allowed to be open.

At present, retail premises can only remain open if the business is wholly or mainly an essential retail business due to restrictions in response to the Covid pandemic.

Usually, large shops with a floor area greater than this limit can only open between 1pm and 6pm on a Sunday.

The council’s decision follows approaches in recent weeks by local retailers requesting that council does not enforce Sunday trading hours in the run-up to Christmas.

Retailers have said that this relaxation will “facilitate safe shopping environments and social distancing for staff and customers and to allow the effective management of customer volumes”.

Normal liquor licensing laws will still apply.

There is no change to trading hours for smaller retail shops (under 280 square metres), which can continue to trade up to 24 hours.

The local authority has been advised that during the current Covid-19 pandemic it is “reasonable and proportionate” for the council to relax its enforcement powers in relation to Sunday trading hours.

Antrim Alliance Councillor Neil Kelly said he was “more than happy” to propose the council accepted the recommendation.

It was seconded by Glengormley Ulster Unionist Alderman Mark Cosgrove, who said: “This sounds like a pragmatic response.”

Michelle Weir, Local Democracy Reporter

Click here to read: ‘Save Christmas for our traders’ appeal to Newtownabbey public


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