Review alcohol rules and curfews, Scottish Government urged

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Scottish lockdown: trade bodies have urged the Government to reassess limits on selling alcohol indoors and curfews (image: Getty/Coleong)
Scottish lockdown: trade bodies have urged the Government to reassess limits on selling alcohol indoors and curfews (image: Getty/Coleong)

Related tags Scotland Scottish Aberdeen Glasgow Edinburgh

Pubs in Scotland have been served a “bitter blow” after it was announced they can reopen from the end of April but cannot serve alcohol indoors.

Pubs can reopen outdoors from 26 April with restrictions but cannot serve alcohol indoors until 17 May, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced.

While this was good news for venues able to serve people outdoors, for many operators the news was “yet another bitter blow,” according to the Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA)’s Colin Wilkinson.

Many operators would be "bitterly disappointed" as reopening would be unviable for the majority of businesses, Wilkinson said.

Pubs will be able to operate until 10.30pm indoors and serve alcohol, with a curfew of 10pm for outdoor trade, from 17 May, with trade bodies welcoming the clarity.

Hospitality businesses can receive a restart grant of up to £19,500, in addition to additional payments under the Strategic Business Framework Fund, Sturgeon outlined.

But with restrictions set to continue into the summer, businesses will still be worried about rising debt, Wilkinson said.

Scottish Hospitality Group spokesperson Stephen Montgomery said it was “impossible to get excited about this partial and gradual reopening” and lambasted alcohol and curfew limits.

Government urged to reconsider

He added: “On both issues the industry has put forward practical, realistic and sensible proposals that balance economic and public health interests. We urge the government to review its stance on alcohol and the arbitrary curfews it is imposing.”

Heavy restrictions on the night time economy has previously led to the police having to break up many house parties, Montgomery added.

The Scottish Government has also been urged to confirm a date all restrictions can be removed.

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association, explained: “The recovery period doesn’t fully begin until all restrictions have been removed, particular for wet pubs and late-night venues.”

Roadmap outlined

From 26 April, pubs can serve groups of up to six people from up to three households until 10pm. There will be no requirement to serve food with alcohol. 

There will also be a "limited" reopening of indoor service, with just food and non-alcoholic drinks allowed.

When it comes to indoor trading, venues can serve groups of four from no more than two households until 8pm and must take contact details from customers.

Indoor hospitality can “return to greater normality” from 17 May, with alcohol served indoors and “more normal opening hours,” Sturgeon said.

This will involve an indoor closing time of 10.30pm with a two-hour dwell time and a 10pm outdoor curfew.

Up to four people from two households will be allowed to socialise indoors from Monday 17 May. 

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