Off-trade

Shop-fitting backlog for isolating alcohol in mixed trade outlets

While new legislation on the sale of alcohol in mixed trade outlets such as convenience stores and supermarkets came into force recently, discussions over potential conflicts with Fire Safety and Planning Regs were not concluded until late August and so a backlog with shop-fitters has emerged which will last through to next March according to the Convenience Stores & Newsagents Association.

The requirement for Social Distancing in the workplace has had the effect of slowing down the fitting of the behind-counter screens and units.

The requirement for Social Distancing in the workplace has had the effect of slowing down the fitting of the behind-counter screens and units.

Under Section 22 of the Public Health Alcohol Act 2018 alcohol sales in mixed trading premises must now take place from behind a barrier or in a separated enclosed space away from the rest of the outlet.

Thus the way in which alcohol can be displayed and marketed has been altered under the above legislation as part of a ‘denormalisation’ of alcohol as part of a grocery shopping trip.

While it’s too early to say how this is working out for mixed trading outlets, the majority of these retailers will have already agreed with shop-fitters the measures necessary to comply with Sect 22 of the Act, according to CSNA Chief Executive Vincent Jennings who told Drinks Industry Ireland, “As the discussions with the Department of Health and the Environmental Health Service on how the Act was to be adhered to, specifically in the context of potential conflicts with Fire Safety and Planning Regulations, were not concluded until late August, there’s a backlog with all shop-fitters through to March 2021.

“This situation has been advised to the EHS who are content to accept the bona-fides of the licensee once there’s a clear and unequivocal plan for the installation in train,” he stated, adding that the requirement for Social Distancing in the workplace has had the effect of slowing down the fitting of the behind-counter screens and units.

As to whether the measures will have any effect on overall sales in these outlets, he concluded, “It will be extremely difficult to accurately assess this for quite some time given the very significant level of volatility in the sales in mixed trade sectors due to the enforced closures of many licences businesses”.

The new legislation will be monitored by HSE Officers.

 

 

 

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