Pubs can reopen from 6am if licence permits early start

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Morning start: Downing Street has confirmed that it does not want pubs opening in the early hours of Saturday 4 July
Morning start: Downing Street has confirmed that it does not want pubs opening in the early hours of Saturday 4 July

Related tags: Coronavirus

The Government has announced that pubs cannot reopen when the clock strikes midnight on Saturday 4 July and must instead wait until 6am at the earliest.

Downing Street has today clarified that 6am on 4 July is the earliest time that pubs will be able to resume trading in the event that "anybody would attempt to try to open at midnight" tonight.

However, pubs are still subject to their usual licensing conditions.

UKHospitality chief executive Kate Nicholls said the number of pubs opening at this time was likely to be very minimal. 

Back to business 

Nicholls said: “With many pubs not even opening tomorrow, we wouldn’t expect to see many instances of such early openings. However, some may want to open earlier to serve breakfast and ease their way back into the swing of things.

"This is arguably more sensible than pushing back the opening time until noon, for example, which would be firing the starting gun in earnest.”

A poll by HIM/MCA Insight, a division of The Morning Advertiser​​​​’s (MA)​​ parent company William Reed Business Media, revealed that half of operators were not planning to reopen on 4 July​. This figure included operators who had not made up their minds yet.

What's more, several operators have told MA they feel more comfortable opening in the week ​and building up to a potentially busier weekend. Others face a financially uncertain future and believe they cannot trade at a profit as things stand.

However, Scottish brewer and pub operator BrewDog had planned an event beginning at one minute past midnight for its ‘Equity Punk’ shareholders at three sites.

Founder James Watt tweeted that these events would be rescheduled.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the BBPA, said: "While pubs in theory can reopen from 6am tomorrow, the reality is that only a tiny number of them will be opening at that time if any at all. Even then, it will be primarily to serve breakfast. The overwhelming majority of pubs have licences that mean they cannot open and serve beer until 11am on Saturday.”

JD Wetherspoon has said it would open its English sites from 8am.

Night-time economy adviser for Greater Manchester Sacha Lord tweeted that it seemed as though ministers were encouraging day drinking.

Related topics: Licensing law

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