Sunday trading hours extension to be considered

Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council is to consider further extending Sunday retail opening hours until September.

The council will consider approving a further extension in view of the continuing Covid pandemic when it holds its monthly meeting on Monday evening.

A decision to approve this extension would mean that the current relaxation of Sunday trading hours will continue until September 26.

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It would mean that the period between 10am and 1pm will continue to be set aside to facilitate key workers, healthcare workers and customers with disabilities.

An extension to Sunday trading hours is to be considered.

Liquor licencing provisions are not affected by this relaxation.

This arrangement is temporary and would been put in place to cover the period from Sunday, June 27 until Sunday, September 26 inclusive. There is no

change to smaller retail shops (under 280 m2), which can continue to trade up to 24 hours.

In normal circumtances, large shops with a floor area greater than this limit can only open between 1pm and 6pm on a Sunday.

The local authority first took a decision to relax enforcement action in relation to Sunday opening hours of large supermarkets last April.

This was extended in November in the run-up to Christmas to facilitate “safe shopping environments and social distancing for staff and customers” and again in the spring.

Masterplans are being developed for each of the five towns in the borough to aid recovery from the Covid pandemic and are due to be brought to the council this month for approval. Urban markets have already commenced.