Pub happy to close early if others follow suit

PUBS in Orange need to close at midnight.

Not a usual phrase to come from a publican but The Occidental Hotel general manager Don Scholte said it was one way to combat the anti-social behaviour associated with excessive drinking.

He certainly wants to find out.

“I just want to trial it in Orange and see how it goes,” he said.

He said he hoped from a business point of view the 12am shutdown would work despite missing out on three hours’ worth of late-night trading.

Yet he would not consider closing The Occidental until the other two late-night trading pubs signed up for the early closure as well.

“If we were to close at 12 but no one else then they  [the patrons] will just go somewhere else,” he said.

“It has to be all in.”

Mr Scholte said he had grave concerns for young people on the roads if pubs in Orange closed earlier, despite being the one pushing for an earlier shutdown.

“One of my biggest fears is that people will religiously travel to Bathurst where they shut at 4.30, 5 o’clock in the morning and what problems that might create with people out on the road,” he said.

“Let’s have a trial and see what happens.”

Lyndon Community deputy CEO Juliane Allan said she was an advocate for the earlier closing time as it was one of the only moves left open to curb binge drinking in Orange.

“Absolutely it would help,” she said.

“Young people in Orange drink a lot at home and then they go out.”

Management at the Royal Hotel declined to comment, while management at the Hotel Orange could not be contacted. 

nicole.kuter@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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