Scottish and Welsh pubs reopen despite 'nonsense' rules

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Reopening day: pubs in Wales and Scotland can reopen for outdoor trade plus limited indoor service in Scotland (image: Getty/ Birgit Korber)
Reopening day: pubs in Wales and Scotland can reopen for outdoor trade plus limited indoor service in Scotland (image: Getty/ Birgit Korber)

Related tags lockdown Legislation Beer Wales Scotland coronavirus

Pubs in Wales and Scotland are allowed to reopen for outdoor service today (Monday 26 April) after months of shutdown.

In Wales, hospitality businesses are only permitted to reopen for outdoor trade, similar to their English counterparts' resumption of trade on Monday 12 April.

Up to six people from six households can meet up for a pint in a beer garden in Wales. 

In Scotland, pubs can sell alcohol outdoors subject to local licensing laws to a maximum group of six people from six households.

While pubs can also open indoors, they are banned from selling alcohol.  

Up to six people from two households can socialise inside a pub or restaurant until an 8pm curfew.

Trade is unviable for many venues across the two nations under these restrictions, trade bodies and operators have said. 

The Society of Independent Brewers' (SIBA) CEO James Calder called the rules "nonsense" on social media. 

Referring to the reopening in Scotland, UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls tweeted that outdoor capacity was “the exception rather than the norm.”

Funerals and weddings, including receptions, may occur with up to 50 people and may serve alcohol.

This has frustrated many in the pub sector and Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group previously said the rule was “ridiculous”.

“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.

Indoor reopening

Scottish operators must wait until the next level of lockdown easing in the country before they can serve alcohol indoors and open for longer, from 17 May.

Welsh pubs and bars will also be able to open indoors from 17 May after low Covid incidence, the First Minister has said.

The cautious estimation of reopening prior to the Spring Bank Holiday on 31 May had previously been made by Mark Drakeford.  

Drakeford, however, told BBC Radio Wales last week that he felt up to 30 people would be able to meet indoors from 17 May if progress tackling the virus continued.

This is the date many trade groups had been lobbying the Government for and it is the same date English pubs will be able to reopen for indoor service, providing criteria on tackling the virus is met.

  • Do you operate a pub business in Wales or Scotland? If you are reopening this week or unable to, please get in touch on rzvyl.unjxvaf@jeoz.pbz​ with your experience.

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