Glasgow nightclubs can temporarily open as bars under new licensing rules and Glasgow Licensing says that up to 40 city venues will be eligible to apply for the change in use.
Licensing applications will now also be fast-tracked from six months to a week’s processing time, and those premises that choose to operate as a bar, with customers seated at tables, will be able to open from 11am to midnight every day of the week. Councillors also agreed a six-month extension to licences which allow venues to serve alcohol outdoors to provide more space.
The change of use would normally require a major variation to a premises licence, which would include a £200 fee and a consultation process. Under the temporary arrangements, decisions will be made by the clerk to the Licensing Board.
They will be subject to the submission of an operating plan, layout plan, Covid-19 risk assessment and £20 fee.
Councillor Matt Kerr, Chair of Glasgow Licensing Board, said, “Unfortunately there is no sign of Covid-19 disappearing any time soon and the impact of the virus will be felt for the foreseeable future.
“Glasgow’s licensed trade supports thousands of jobs and we must do everything we can to support this vital part of the city’s economy.
“There’s no real prospect that the restrictions on nightclubs are going to be lifted in the near future and that means owners have a massive challenge to deal with.
“So we have to be flexible enough to give operators an opportunity to reshape their business to operate as an ordinary bar.”
Mr Kerr also stressed that these are very much “temporary measures” to give licensees a “fighting chance” in the middle of an “unprecedented situation” and that applications will be fully assessed by the police and the City Services team to make sure any changes will meet licensing, environmental and building standards.
He continued, “If given the go-ahead, premises must comply with the restrictions designed to suppress the spread of the virus or there is a clear risk temporary licences will be revoked.
“But everything I have seen indicates the city’s licensed trade is working exceptionally hard to ensure they can trade while keeping staff and customers safe.”
Meanwhile, an online #FreedomtoDance campaign has been launched by Scottish night club owners and music promoters to highlight the lack of indicative dates for these businesses reopening. The campaign also calls for more funding for the sector.