Scottish pubs allowed to stay open beyond curfew if Euro matches run late

pub & bar

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Scottish pubs allowed to stay open beyond curfew if Euro 2020 matches run late

Related tags: Scotland, Pub & bar, Curfew

Scottish pubs in council areas under Level 2 and Level 1 lockdown will be able to stay open later to show European Championship matches that go to extra-time.

In a letter sent to industry leaders, Scotland's Business Minister Ivan McKee said pubs could stay open to 11:30pm to show matches that head to sudden death, something hospitality bosses have been lobbying for.

All of Scotland's mainland is currently in either Level 2 or Level 1 of the country's five-tier system of Coronavirus restrictions, which restricts hospitality to a curfew of either 10:30pm or 11pm respectively, and limits group numbers able to congregate indoors to either six or eight adults from two households.

The Euros head to the knock-out phase of the competition from Saturday onwards with many games kicking off at 8pm.

This means that if the match is tied after 90 minutes, another 30 minutes of extra time will be played, followed by penalties if a winner has still not emerged, meaning it could be nearer 11pm before a tie is settled.

McKee said: "It has been agreed, as a temporary measure between June 26 and July 11, that premises may extend closing time up to 11.30pm where required to facilitate viewing of the whole game and the safe departure of patrons thereafter.

"I must however draw your attention to the limited basis of this temporary change. It does not represent a wholesale shift of the levels rules on operating times for hospitality in levels 2 and 1, which outside of affected games during June 26 and July 11 remain as currently set out in the protection levels."

Updated Scottish Government guidance related to the matter is due to be formally published tomorrow (25 June).

The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG), which comprises many of the country’s largest and best-known restaurant and bar businesses, has welcomed the decision.

Stephen Montgomery, group spokesperson for the SHG, said:  “It’s a very welcome decision from the Scottish Government. We’ve been campaigning for an extension on closing times for some time now, as we know that forcing pubs to evict football fans mid-game could put our staff at a serious risk of abuse.

"It’s great to see that the Scottish Government has finally listened to our concerns and thought about the potential consequences that restrictions on opening hours can have.  This decision will work in everyone’s interest – we all want to socialise after the difficulties of the past year, and it’s much better to do so in a well-run pub with lots of public health measures in place."

Earlier this week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that all of Scotland could move to Level 0 on 19 July​, with most remaining restrictions potentially set to be dropped on 9 August.

“It would be fantastic to see the Scottish Government’s ‘pragmatic approach’ extended beyond the Euros for the week leading up to 19 July when levels are due to return to zero," added Montgomery.

"Struggling businesses now need to be allowed to trade viably beyond Euro 2020 so that they can get back in the game."

 

Related topics: Business & Legislation, Pub & Bar

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