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Kamloops liquor primary businesses can stay open until 3 am on New Year's Eve

It looks like New Year’s Eve celebrations in Kamloops will be carried on well into the night.

A unanimous vote from city council members on Tuesday, will allow liquor primary businesses to serve liquor until 3 am.

Downtown Kamloops made the request for an extension of licensed hours for Dec. 31.

Unless local bylaws prohibit it the provincial Liquor and Cannabis Regulation Branch allows food primary and liquor primary establishments to stay open until 4 am if food is available for people.

In Kamloops, pubs can’t be open later than 1 am and nightclubs can’t be open later than 2 am.

<who> Photo Credit: Downtown Kamloops

Those times are meant to minimize noise and disturbance impacts on the community, which may impact policing services.

In the past, the city has rejected these types of requests due to feedback from the RCMP, which has indicated that those later closures negatively affect their ability to police the city.

However, the RCMP have let the city know they have no issue with the later closure times this year.

A staff report says the local police are already planning and preparing for the busy night.

“We are preparing our operational planning for New Years Eve and have acquired four additional resources for licence premise checks, impaired operation patrols and road check stops,” says a staff report, which includes the city’s RCMP liaison.

“We are not impacted by resources for this request and have a contingency plan within our current resource establishment to ensure sufficient police resources for a premise to be open until 0300 hours as per legislation.”

However, the police liaison said they could not support anything later than 3 am.

City staff say the 3 am closure of liquor primary businesses may allow for a more gradual dispersion of crowds while supporting businesses and allowing the community to celebrate the new year.

Staff will be monitoring the situation to determine any potential community impact and will report back to council before New Year’s Eve 2024 with a recommendation to either continue with year-by-year requests or amend a policy to allow the requests across the board.

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