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CORONAVIRUS CRISIS LICENSING BRIEFING #37
Update 19 July 2021
It’s Level 0 – but not as we knew it
The whole of Scotland moved into Level 0 on 19 July – a space previously occupied by only a number of island areas. In those parts of the country, hospitality businesses enjoyed unrestricted, “normal” licensed hours in terms of their premises licence.
But, unexpectedly, the “modified” Level 0 requires the closure of food and drink businesses during the period from 0000 to 0400. The restriction applies to premises or parts of premises “which are indoors” so the only restriction on outdoor areas continues to be what is permitted in the premises licence.
The First Minister told the Parliament:
This reflects the fact that indoor hospitality - despite the sector’s sterling efforts - remains a relatively risky environment, particularly later at night when people may be less likely to follow rules. A midnight closing time represents progress from level 1 and 2 but it will help mitigate some of this risk.
The closure requirement doesn’t apply to the sale of food or drink:
while hotel residents may also consume food or drink (including alcohol) in their private rooms.
There are a number of other exemptions for settings such as cinemas, airport airside areas and drive-in events but which do not extend to the sale of alcohol.
Casinos are also required to cease trading between 0000 and 0400.
The Scottish Government’s guidance for the tourism and hospitality sector has been updated to address the provision of live entertainment in hospitality.
The status quo
There are a number of continuing requirements:
1. Food and drink must be ordered by and served to seated customers;
2. Customers are to remain seated while consuming the food and drink;
3. Face coverings must be worn except whether customers are seated.
4. Businesses must continue to obtain visitor information to assist the Test and Protect scheme. See our advice here but note that since this was published Regulations have made it clear that information needn’t be collected from takeaway customers.
5. Indoor physical distancing at one metre is still in place for different household groups.
6. Nightclubs and adult entertainment venues remain closed.
It remains the First Minister’s “expectation” that Scotland will move beyond Level 0 on 9 August. An announcement will be made in the preceding week. Miss Sturgeon’s statement on the move to Level 0 is available here.