Scottish pubs warned of fake funerals being used as excuse to drink indoors

Pubs across Scotland have been urged to take extra care when booking funeral parties after reports of fake mourners using a coronavirus exemption to drink indoors.

Saturday, 17th October 2020, 4:38 pm

The warning comes after the Scottish Government imposed strict new rules on bars and restaurants last week, including prohibiting the sale of alcohol indoors for two weeks.

But some fake mourners are thought to have been taking advantage of an exemption to the rules for significant “life events” such as weddings and funerals, when up to 20 guests can be served alcohol indoors until 10pm.

Expert licensing solicitor, Janet Hood, slammed the illegal practice, arguing that it put landlords in a dangerous position during the pandemic.

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Pubs across Scotland have been urged to take extra care when booking funeral parties after reports of fake mourners using a coronavirus exemption to drink indoors.

“It’s a simply stupid thing to do and I would recommend nobody carry on in this irresponsible way,” she told the Courier, “it could have serious consequences.

“If the police or licensing officers were made aware of this there could be a big risk of licences being lost.”

Ms Hood, warned all bar and restaurant staff to cross-check any funeral bookings they receive against scheduled funeral services.

“A premises manager or personal licence holder should follow due diligence and ask any appropriate questions, as they have to do with track and trace,” she said.

“If it was me I would do basic checks, perhaps to see if a service is being held beforehand. If the licensed trade was to take everyone’s word for it and this happened to them with someone pulling the wool over their eyes it could cause them a lot of difficulties.”

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes outside central Scotland can only conduct indoor business between 6am and 6pm and not serve alcohol, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas.

Pubs and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley – have been forced to close for all but takeaway service until October 26.

Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling, casinos and bingo halls have also been made to close and no outdoor live events are allowed in these five areas.

Currently Scots cannot meet others from another household in indoor household settings across Scotland unless they are part of an “extended household”, available to people who live alone or only with children under 18.

People can meet outdoors in groups of up to six, not including children under 12, from no more than two households, and a maximum of six people from two households can meet in indoor hospitality settings, such as pubs and cafes.

Ms Sturgeon has also advised Scots against travelling to high-risk areas of England, singling out Blackpool as “associated with a large and growing number of Covid cases in Scotland”.

A tiering system is set to be introduced in Scotland later this month, if approved by MSPs, replacing temporary coronavirus restrictions in place across the country.

It will indicate which level of regulations apply when the temporary restrictions end on October 25.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the new framework will “strengthen our resilience to live with this virus” and will detail support for businesses in the future should they be the subject of further restrictions.

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