Policy Factsheet

Hours of Sale for Alcohol

Reasons for Policy

  • In 2002, heavy alcohol consumption contributed to approximately 10% of the total burden of disease in economically developed countries1
  • Alcohol consumption is third out of 26 leading risk factors contributing to disease, injury , and death2

Community Groups

  • Local Department That Issues Liquor Licenses (different Depending On State)
  • Local Government
  • Local Law Enforcement
  • Local Licensed Alcohol Vendors

Policy Components

  • Limiting hours and days that alcohol can be sold, thereby, reducing the availability of alcohol

Desired Outcomes

  • Lower rates of interpersonal violence
  • Lower rates of heavy alcohol consumption
  • Lower rates of non-vehicle related injuries due to alcohol
  • Lower rates of motor vehicle crashes due to alcohol

Level of Evidence Available to Evaluate Effectiveness of Policy

For all policies we describe on this website, we have applied the Standards of Evidence as defined by Flay et al. (2005) in the Standards of Evidence document published by Prevention Science.

The effectiveness level of this policy is 1: Evidence-Based Policies Meeting Criteria for Effectiveness.

The levels of effectiveness as noted are:

  1. meets criteria for policy effectiveness (consistent, positive outcomes from at least two high-quality experimental or quasi-experimental trials using a comparison group or interrupted time series design);
  2. consistent evidence available linking policy with positive outcomes from high-quality observational studies only;
  3. insufficient evidence available for policy or policy components.

Achievable Results

Controls on hours or days of sale result in significant reductions in alcohol consumption and related harm (e.g., violence).1,2

Community Examples

Links to Policy Examples

Be sure to check with your state, county, and municipal governments regarding potential existing laws that may impede any new policy development.


  1. Stockwell T & Chikritzhs T (2009). Do relaxed trading hours for bars and clubs mean more relaxed drinking? A review of international research on the impacts of changes to permitted hours of drinking. Crime Prevention and Community Safety, 11, 153-170.  

  2. Popova S, Giesbrecht N, Bekmuradov D, & Patra J (2009). Hours and days of sale and density of alcohol outlets: Impacts on alcohol consumption and damage: A systematic review. Alcohol & Alcoholism, 44(5), 500-516.  

  3. Flay, BR, Biglan, A, Boruch, RF, Ganzalez Castro, F, Gottfredson, D, Kellam, S, Moscicki, EK, Schinke, S, Valentine, JC, & Ji, P (2005). Standards of evidence: Criteria for efficacy, effectiveness and dissemination. Prevention Science, 6(3), 151-175.