What time do pubs close in Scotland? New opening rules if Euro 2020 matches go to extra time explained
Bars and pubs under Level 2 lockdown restrictions must close by 10:30pm, but a temporary measure has been agreed by the Scottish Government to allow venues to stay open later when football games run over
Football fans have been descending on their local watering holes for Euro 2020.
Despite Scotland crashing out of the tournament after losing 3-1 against World Cup runners-up Croatia, many people will still be heading down to the pub to watch teams compete in the knockout stages.
In welcome news for both venues and customers, pubs will be able to stay open later to show matches that go to extra time, the Scottish Government has confirmed.
It comes after hospitality bosses appealed to MSPs earlier this month to allow more flexible licensing laws to stop them having to kick customers out if games continued past closing time.
Here’s everything you need to know about the new rule.
What time do pubs close in Scotland?
Scotland is currently under a local lockdown levels system, with different areas having varying Covid restrictions depending on the prevalence of the virus.
The majority of the central belt, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, is in Level 2, meaning pubs, restaurants and bars in those council areas must close by 10:30pm.
Meanwhile, hospitality venues in Level 1, such as Fife, are required to shut by 11pm.
Areas in Level 0 have the most relaxed restrictions, with no curfew and only local licensing conditions applying for opening hours.
What is the new rule for Euro 2020 extra-time?
The knock-out phase of the Euros begins on Saturday (26 June), with many games kicking off at 8pm.
That could potentially cause problems for pub-goers and bar staff, as if a match is tied after full-time, another 30 minutes of extra time will be played, possibly followed by penalties to decide a winner after that.
It means the whistle may not be blown until nearly 11pm during some games.
Industry bosses were concerned that calling last orders in the middle of a crucial match could put staff members at risk and waste police time if officers were called to help clear premises.
But Business Minister Ivan McKee sent a letter to hospitality leaders on Wednesday (23 June) saying pubs will be able to stay open until 11:30pm to show matches that run over.
For Level 2 areas, this means opening hours will be extended by an hour where required so people can watch the full game.
When does the change come in?
Mr McKee said the change to opening times was a “temporary measure”.
It will come into place on 26 June and last until 11 July.
However, premises are only allowed to extend closing time up to 11:30pm when it is needed to “facilitate viewing of the whole game”, the business minister warned.
He said: "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."
The updated guidance is due to be formally published on Friday 25 June.
Reacting to the change, the Scottish Hospitality Group said in a tweet: "This is a welcomed shift and will allow business owners to manage closing easier."