The first venues to get lockout exemptions have been revealed

The first venues to be granted ‘exemptions’ from Sydney’s lockout laws have been revealed, after the NSW Government began the process of relaxing the laws on Monday.

CBD venues The Palace Hotel, Observer Hotel and ArtHouse Hotel will now be able to admit patrons until 2am, and will be able to serve drinks until 3.30am. The list is only going to grow, with Deputy Secretary for Liquor, Gaming and Emergency Management at the NSW Department of Justice Paul Newson stating that more venues are currently being assessed.

“We expect to announce more venues soon, with Liquor & Gaming NSW assessing a further 13 applications for the 30-minute extensions to lockouts and last drinks times,” Mr Newson said.

“As venues have only been able to apply since late December and this is a busy time of year, more applications are expected in the next few weeks. Industry feedback suggests up to 50 venues could take advantage of the relaxed lockout and last drinks times.”

“The changes are part of the Government’s commitment to creating a more vibrant nightlife for Sydney while keeping the focus on community safety. Live entertainment venues help provide a more diverse nightlife with less focus on alcohol consumption.”

But community group Keep Sydney Open said a 30-minute reprieve isn’t the change they’ve been fighting for. “Pushing back the lockouts by half an hour will do little to help small businesses, the music scene or reinvigorate our dying inner-city precincts,” they said in a statement last year. “It’s an unacceptable result that shows how oblivious the Premier is to how cities and culture operate.”

Keep Sydney Open will march on Kings Cross to oppose the changes to the laws this weekend, pending a decision from the Supreme Court.