It’s been a long time coming, but as of March 8, the lockout laws first introduced in 2014 are officially no longer in effect anywhere in Sydney. While the laws were scrapped for the CBD and Oxford Street in January 2020, the restrictions on hospitality businesses remained in place in Kings Cross. On February 9, NSW premier Gladys Berejiklian announced that the laws would be lifted in their entirety on March 8, 2021, to allow the Cross to become one of Sydney's nightlife hotspots again.
Venues across the city will now be allowed to admit patrons past 1.30am, there will be no time restrictions on drinks service, including shots after midnight, and venues will no longer be required to have a responsible service of alcohol marshal on duty.
Sydney’s lockout legislation was introduced in 2014 to curb alcohol-fuelled violence in Kings Cross following the one-punch killings of Thomas Kelly in July 2012 and Daniel Christie in December 2013. However, the restrictions were found to have had a disastrous economic and reputational impact on Sydney’s nighttime industries. It’s been estimated that the lockouts have cost the city more than $16 billion in revenue over the past seven years.
The lifting of the remaining restrictions marks the beginning of a new chapter for Sydney, as the city begins to action its plan to become a 24-hour economy. This includes the appointment of a 24-hour economy commissioner, Michael Rodrigues. The former managing director of Time Out Australia and the chair of the Night Time Industries Association will be responsible for working with local hospitality businesses to encourage Sydneysiders to embrace the city's nightlife, as well as working with the city and state governments to improve facilities and infrastructure.
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