PATRONS of Charlie’s Bar in Enniskillen have been left drowning their sorrows after the news their loyalty card scheme is to end.
The new legislation from the Department for Communities – a devolved Northern Ireland government department in the Northern Ireland Executive – now means that from April 6, 2023, bar licence-holders will be prohibited from operating a loyalty scheme on their premises.
“We would like to make our customers aware that this was not a decision that we have made but operating such a scheme after this point will carry a fine of £5,000,” Charlie’s Bar explained on their Facebook page.
“Understandably, this will come as a shock to many. A statement was released [about the new legislation] on March 14, 2023 on Hospitality Ulster in the height of our busiest time of year. It was thankfully brought to our attention a few days later by a customer.
“We would request that customers use their Loyalty Points before April 6, 2023. From Monday, March 20, we will not be accepting Loyalty Cards to build points, only for redemptions.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over the years while the Charlie’s Loyalty Card was running. It is with regret that we are legally obliged to bring this scheme to an end.”
A statement from the Institute of Licensing confirmed the ‘prohibition of loyalty schemes’ were due to come into effect next month.
“Section 20 ‘Prohibition of loyalty schemes,’ of the Licensing and Registration of Clubs (Amendment) Act (Northern Ireland) 2021 is due to come into effect on April 6, 2023 and will affect all licensed premises with membership schemes,” the statement said.
“Licence holders will be prohibited from operating a membership scheme which provides rewards to its members when purchasing intoxicating liquor and allows the member to redeem the rewards to purchase intoxicating liquor at a reduced price or receive it free of charge.
“Operating such a scheme carries a fine of up to £5,000.”
Those with loyalty points still on their cards can redeem them by speaking to a Charlie’s staff member, who will check how much is left on the card and redeem the customer straight away.
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