Scottish pubs 'unfairly targeted' by alcohol rules

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Scottish reopening: industry bodies have urged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to review rules on alcohol sales ahead of hospitality reopening (image: Getty/AlbertPego)
Scottish reopening: industry bodies have urged First Minister Nicola Sturgeon to review rules on alcohol sales ahead of hospitality reopening (image: Getty/AlbertPego)

Related tags: lockdown, Scotland, Scottish, Beer, Legislation, Alcohol, Nicola Sturgeon

Calls continue to mount for a relaxation of rules about serving alcohol when pubs reopen in Scotland.

Pubs can reopen outdoors for groups of up to six people from up to six households with alcohol from Monday 26 April.

They can also reopen indoors but can only serve groups of up to six people from up to two households without alcohol until 8pm.

Trade bodies have said rules limiting alcohol are “ridiculous” and will strangle businesses’s attempts to rebuild trade this spring.

The Scottish Government adapted its level framework to increase the number of people and households allowed to meet up and also permitted wedding receptions up to 50 people to have alcohol. 

Little comfort

Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) CEO Emma McClarkin said the announcement “unfortunately falls short of what is required to make licensed premises viable.”

She called for a return to licensing hours indoors and permission for alcohol to be sold indoors from Monday 26 April. 

McClarkin added: “The First Minister points to indoor reopening being ahead of England, but without alcohol service it is meaningless to licensed hospitality businesses and little comfort to Scottish brewers and other parts of the supply chain who will see no benefit.

“While many sectors are allowed to return to near normal at Level 3, retaining a curfew makes trading exceptionally difficult for Scotland’s pubs and bars who feel they are being unfairly targeted by these restrictions.”

More confused

Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group said it was “ridiculous” that a relaxation of alcohol rules was only being applied to weddings and not other sectors.

“You can toast the bride and groom in the function suite but you can’t have a glass of wine on a first date in the restaurant next door,” he added.

The sector would be “more confused than ever at a decision which makes no sense,” Montgomery 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.

Related topics: Legislation

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