No lockout exemptions for Oxford St on Mardi Gras night
The NSW Government is standing firm against calls for one-off exemptions from the lockout laws for pubs and clubs on Oxford Street on Mardi Gras night.
The laws, which come into effect on February 24, include a 1.30am lockout and last drinks at 3am for licensed venues in the Sydney CBD and inner city.
There will also be a state-wide ban on takeaway alcohol sales after 10pm.
A spokesperson for the Hospitality Minister George Souris told SX: “There will be no exemptions”.
Last year, around 10,000 people participated in the Mardi Gras Parade with an estimated 300,000 spectators lining the parade route.
With such an influx of people on Mardi Gras night, there are concerns the lockout laws could jeopardise, rather than protect, people’s safety.
Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said “safe and well-managed venues on Oxford Street should be given a one-off exemption for Mardi Gras”.
“Given the large numbers of people expected to be in Oxford Street, including international and interstate visitors who are unaware of the new rules, doing this could help ensure safety,” she said.
Above: Over 300,000 people are expected to line Oxford and Flinders Streets to watch the Mardi Gras Parade. Photo: Mardi Gras PhotoTeam/Connie Chan
In a statement, Souris said: “We expect full cooperation from venues and patrons as it is in everybody’s interest that we improve safety and amenity of the CBD and prevent senseless acts of violence”.
The lockouts and last drinks restrictions do not apply to the Mardi Gras Party, with the Entertainment Quarter in Moore Park outside the government’s alcohol exclusion zone.
Sydney Mardi Gras CEO Michael Rolik urged people to consider coming to the Mardi Gras Party.
“It is the community’s, it’s a private party and it’s diverse. There are six venues, it’s fully licensed. We have a great collaboration with the police and there is no fear of people seeking to hijack the party and create an environment that is aggressive or intimidating.”
Moore said Mardi Gras is the second largest event in Sydney after New Year’s Eve.
“It is disappointing the NSW Government has decided to introduce new restrictions on licensed venues, including those along Oxford Street, in the same week Sydney is trying to attract visitors and build its reputation as an exciting and accepting city.”
LGBT & LGBT-FRIENDLY VENUES AFFECTED BY THE LOCKOUT LAWS
Arq (NB: Eclipse Dayclub at Arq will open at 5am on Saturday and Sunday)
Phoenix (NB: Up Dayclub at Phoenix will open at 5am on Saturday, Sunday and Monday)
LGBT & LGBT-FRIENDLY VENUES NOT AFFECTED BY THE LAWS
Sly Fox Hotel
- TOPICS: Alcohol fuelled violence, Alcohol laws, Arq, Clover Moore, Colombian Hotel, Gay Bar, George Souris, Imperial Hotel, Lockout laws, Mardi Gras Parade, Michael Rolik, Midnight Shift, Oxford Hotel, Oxford Street, Stonewall Hotel, Sydney Mardi Gras 2014
- CATEGORIES: News + Politics, New South Wales