The Scottish government will allow hospitality businesses to remain open later than the Covid-19 curfew should a Euros football match overrun.
Venues in areas under Level 2 restrictions, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, must close by 10.30pm, while those in Level 1 must shut by 11pm. The Scottish Hospitality Group (SHG) has been calling for permission to extend opening hours should matches overrun due to extra time or penalties. It warned that having to evict football fans mid-game during Euros would put staff at risk.
A letter to hospitality trade bodies from business minister Ivan McKee confirmed that, as a temporary measure, between 26 June and 11 July, premises may extend their closing time up to 11.30pm where required to facilitate viewing of a whole game and the safe departure of guests.
The letter said premises should then close "as soon as is reasonable and safe following the conclusion of the match", but no later than 11.30pm.
Stephen Montgomery, group spokesperson for the SHG, welcomed the move. He said: "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.
"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. Struggling businesses now need to be allowed to trade viably beyond Euro 2020 so that they can get back in the game."
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