On 12 November last, I commenced 23 of the 31 sections of the Public Health (Alcohol) Act 2018. The effect of that commencement includes:
- From 12 November 2019
- Alcohol advertising in or on public service vehicles, at public transport stops or stations and within 200 metres of a school, a crèche or a local authority playground will be prohibited.
- Alcohol advertising in a cinema will be prohibited except around films with an 18 classification or in a licensed premises in a cinema.
- Children’s clothing that promotes alcohol will be prohibited
- From 12 November 2020
In mixed retail outlets alcohol products and advertising are confined to one of the following:
- an area separated by a 1.2 metre high barrier, or
- units in which alcohol products are not visible up to 1.5 metres height, or
- up to three units that can be a maximum of 1 metre wide by 2.2 metres high.
In addition alcohol products can be contained but not be visible in a unit behind the counter.
- From 12 November 2021:
- A prohibition on alcohol advertising on a sports area during a sporting event, at events aimed at children or at events in which the majority of participants or competitors are children.
- Alcohol sponsorship of events aimed at children, events which the majority of participants or competitors are children and events involving driving or racing motor vehicles is prohibited.
The provisions yet to be commenced are as follows:
- Sections 4 (Applicant to provide written notice to the Executive) and 19 (Broadcast watershed) require consultation with external stakeholders prior to commencement. That consultation is ongoing.
- Section 10 on Minimum Unit Pricing requires a revised Government Decision before it can be commenced as the Government Decision in 2013 which approved the implementation of a minimum unit pricing regime did so on the basis of a similar regime being introduced simultaneously in Northern Ireland.
- Sections 12 (Labelling of alcohol products and notices in licensed premises) and 13 (Content of advertisements) will be commenced following the finalisation of the regulations related to those measures. Those regulations are being developed and will be finalised after assessment at EU level.
- Section 10 (Repeals) cannot be commenced until regulations under section 23 (Regulations relating to sale and supply of alcohol products) are assessed at EU level and finalised.
- Sections 18 (Advertisements in publications) and 21 (Review of operation of section 13 to 20) can be commenced only after all advertising sections of the Act have come into operation.