Pubs permitted to stay open later for Euros final

By Nikkie Thatcher

- Last updated on GMT

Extended hours: the relaxation of the licensing laws means pubs can remain open for an additional three quarters of an hour for the UEFA Euro 2020 final match (image: Getty/NoSystem images)
Extended hours: the relaxation of the licensing laws means pubs can remain open for an additional three quarters of an hour for the UEFA Euro 2020 final match (image: Getty/NoSystem images)

Related tags Licensing Legislation British beer & pub association Sport Football

Licensing laws will be relaxed, allowing the on-trade to remain trading for an additional 45 minutes this Sunday (11 July), the Government has confirmed.

The UEFA Euro 2020 tournament final will be taking place at Wembley Stadium this weekend and pubs will be allowed to stay open until 11.15pm, regardless of if England make the final or not.

The change is expected to be made via a temporary amendment to licensing laws in England and Wales and is set to mean pubs will not have to apply to their local council for an extension to their opening hours.

According to the BBC​, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “The entire nation has been gripped by the Euros and this will allow people to enjoy the match in pubs if they wish to do so.”

Licensing experts Poppleston Allen partner Andy Grimsey laid out how the Government is likely to have set out the change.

More detail needed

He said: "We haven't seen the wording of the order but the Government is likely to be extending hours for licence holders using a power under the Licensing Act to relax opening hours for 'special occasions'.

"This has been used previously for the World Cup, the Queen's birthday and other significant national events. From past experience, areas of confusion have arisen with regulations drafted at short notice, but we would hope like before, that an implied 'drinking up' time will be permitted in addition to the explicit extra hours granted by the proposed order, if the regulations themselves are silent.

"Also, there is the question of whether entertainment and late-night refreshment will be extended along with alcohol hours, and lastly whether the extension for alcohol will be for premises authorised for on and off-sales, or just on-sales.

"This last issue has implications for operators who use their off-sales permission to serve customers in beer gardens and other external areas not strictly part of their licence.

"We eagerly await the regulations where hopefully some of these issues will be clarified."

Trade body UKHospitality boss Kate Nicholls said it was fantastic news pubs and bars have been given dispensation to extend opening.

She added: "It would mean that fans can watch – and hopefully celebrate – the game in safe, supervised environments, with friends and families, and that licensees can relax and concentrate on serving customers, without closing time creeping up on them during the game.

"Here’s hoping we’re all raising a glass to the Three Lions come Sunday’s final and enjoying a memorable experience.”

British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA) chief executive Emma McClarkin also welcomed the news and outlined how it will benefit the trade.

Government investment required

She said: “Having called for extended hours if the England team goes on to the final at Wembley, it will be a huge boost to our pubs showing the game, especially if it goes to penalties.

“Unfortunately though, pubs still have to show the game under heavy social distancing restrictions.”

Meanwhile, the BBPA has predicted at the semi final game tonight (Wednesday 7 July), which will see England take on Denmark, pubgoers will buy 6.8m pints.

However, if the result of restrictions remaining in place means this is 1.7m fewer pints than if the measures had been removed – costing pubs £6.5m.

McClarkin said: “With England fans’ support, we hope pubs will sell 6.8m during the semi-final match.

“If the team goes on to win, a final at Wembley awaits, which would be a huge boost to our pubs and the nation. Come on England!

“After a long wait, the pubs we love should be restriction-free from Monday 19 July. Only when the restrictions are removed can our pubs recover, but to do so they need Government investment to build back better.”

Related topics Licensing law

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