Under the proposals, pubs, clubs and bars that are licensed to trade until 11pm could be allowed to open until 1am on Friday 8 May and Saturday 9 May 2020 – without having to apply for an extension.
This follows the Government’s decision to move the early May bank holiday in 2020 from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to make the 75th anniversary of VE Day a public holiday.
Spirit and significance
The occasion will see communities across the nation remember the contribution of British, Commonwealth and Allied Armed Forces personnel as well as the citizens who contributed to the war effect and safeguarded the home front.
Government plans for VE Day 75, which will be announced in due course, will look to evoke the spirit and significance of this year’s D-Day 75 tributes, an event that saw large-scale events with veterans at the heart of commemorations.
The extension of pub opening hours will be subject to a short consultation with partners including the police, licensing authorities, industry, community groups and veterans organisations.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “VE Day is a landmark day in our history. Extending licensing hours will pave the way for commemorative events across the UK so we can pay tribute to the courage and determination of the millions who fought for our freedom or supported the war effect at home.”
UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls welcomed the possible extension to licensing hours and called the anniversary a historic moment for the country.
She added: “People will want to mark the occasion in all sorts of ways and pubs are often the focal point for community celebrations and acts of commemoration.
“This will be a moment of national significance and extending licensing hours will allow pubs to play their part.”
British Beer & Pub Association director of public affairs David Wilson hailed the celebration as a wonderful opportunity for the nation to commemorate and celebrate the occasion in a pub.
He said: “It is wonderful news that licensing hours for pubs are being extended as part of this special weekend. It will be greatly welcomed by people looking to celebrate the occasion and remember those who gave so much during the war.”