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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Weir (Local Democracy Reporter)

Sunday trading hours extended until after Christmas in Antrim and Newtownabbey borough

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council has approved an extension of Sunday trading hours until after Christmas. The latest extension was agreed at a meeting of council on Monday evening in view of the continuing Covid pandemic.

The decision means that the current relaxation of Sunday trading hours will continue until the end of December.

Proposing the measure, Antrim Ulster Unionist Councillor Jim Montgomery said:

“It makes sense to continue with this with the pressure businesses are under.”

His proposal was seconded by Airport Sinn Fein Cllr Annemarie Logue.

It would mean that the period between 10am and 1pm will continue to be set aside to facilitate key workers, healthcare workers and customers with disabilities.

Liquor licensing provisions are not affected.

There is no change to smaller retail shops (under 280 m2), which can continue to trade up to 24 hours. Retailers are expected to comply with all current Covid-19 related legislation and regulations.

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

The local authority first took a decision to relax enforcement action in relation to Sunday opening hours of large supermarkets last April.

Meanwhile, the council has announced that it is to spend £74,000 on a series of Christmas ‘switch ons’.

Cllr Logue commented:

“In relation to Christmas switch-ons, I want to make sure from a town perspective, we are kept up-to-date in relation to what is happening in our areas and to make sure there is adequate provision across all areas in relation to lights for Christmas switch-ons.”

A combination of a live and virtual event switch-on programme was approved at the July council meeting at an estimated cost of £40,000. A “large scale” festive switch-on is planned for Glengormley and Antrim.

Virtual events are planned for Airport, Ballyclare, Dunsilly, Macedon and Threemilewater areas also to include a Christmas lights switch-on.

Councillors have been told that a series of “town centre small events and seasonal animations” will also be delivered across the borough in the run-up to Christmas to support the retail and hospitality sector.

Last year’s virtual switch-on programme was delivered online in November and December due to Covid restrictions, attracting 80,000 views.


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