SBPA: 200 pubs could reopen for first time on 9th August

MORE than 200 Scottish pubs could reopen for the first time this year if the planned lifting of restrictions on 9th August goes ahead, according to the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA).

Scotland is due to move beyond level zero of restrictions on 9th August, with first minister Nicola Sturgeon to confirm on Tuesday (3rd August) whether the move can go ahead as planned.

This week the first minister said that there were “grounds for optimism that we will be able to continue our progress out of restrictions”.

The SBPA has been among the trade groups meeting with government ahead of the next relaxation of rules, lobbying ministers on issues such as the removal of table-only service and an end to the midnight curfew.

The group reckons a further 200 pubs could reopen in August if enough restrictions are removed.

“We have been pushing the government strongly on this, particularly the need to end the curfew on trading hours which has meant late-night premises are unable to open, and the end of table-only service – which has been devastating to many of our smaller establishments,” said SBPA chief executive, Emma McClarkin.

“Removing these restrictions is key to our pubs’ viability. If these restrictions are removed, we can work with the Scottish Government on other baseline restrictions so long as they are workable and enable business viability.

“If heavy restrictions remain in place beyond the baseline that make pubs unviable, then pubs could be at risk of closing for good.

“It is crucial the Scottish Government get this right and align us closely as possible to the other nations of the UK to ensure our recovery is not outpaced and we lose out on investment. We stand ready to work with the Scottish Government to get this right.”