Pubs showing the Euro 2020 knockout phases on 26 June and 11 July will be able to stay open until the match finishes. The decision from Ivan McKee MSP, Minister for Business Trade Tourism and Enterprise, followed trade representations to the Scottish Government and was revealed to the trade bodies in a letter from the new minister.
He said, “It is acknowledged that a pragmatic approach is required to deal with unique scenarios, where it is safe to do so.”
McKee told trade bodies, “In respect of the potential for Euros matches in the knockout stages to reach beyond current closing times in level 2 (22.30) and level 1 (23.00) due to extra time and penalties, it has been agreed, as a temporary measure between 26 June and 11 July, that premises may extend closing time up to 23.30 where required to facilitate viewing of the whole game and safe departure of patrons thereafter.”
Guidance will be updated by Friday 25 June to reflect the regulatory and practical aspects of this measure and it is hoped that alcohol will be able to serve until closing.
However, Mckee also pointed out that the decision to relax the rules was a temporary change. Saying, “It does not represent a wholesale shift of the level’s 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. It is simply a practical measure to ensure premises do not need to close while games remain in progress, but they should then do so as soon as is reasonable and safe following the conclusion of the match, but no later than 23.30.
“The extended closing time should only be applied on days where such a scenario of extended play occurs i.e. if the game is still in progress when the current closing time is approaching, then the extended closing time can be utilised.
Guidance will be updated by Friday 25 June to reflect the regulatory and practical aspects of this measure.
Stephen Montgomery, spokesman for the Scottish Hospitality Group said, “We welcome the decision. and look forward to seeing the guidance. This does not mean that pubs can stay open longer on these dates if the matches do not go to extra time or penalties. The extended closing time is only if the matches go on longer.”