Nightclubs to close from 27th December

Scottish Government pledges “package of support” for venues

NIGHTCLUBS are to close from 27th December for at least three weeks, the Scottish Government has announced.

Announcing the measure today (23rd December), deputy first minister John Swinney said nightclub operators “have the option of adapting their business model” and remaining open to effectively trade as bars without dancing and with table service and one-metre physical distancing between groups, as per the new restrictions for bars and restaurants announced on 21st December which come in on 27th December (Grants of up to £6800 as restrictions return | Scottish Licensed Trade News (

Swinney said the Scottish Government is engaging with the nightclub sector on a “package of support” for those venues closing and details of funding would be published “as soon as possible”.

“Having engaged with the sector, we have concluded nightclubs should close,” he said.

“While it would be open to them to operate with physical distancing and table service – and that option will remain – we believe closure in regulations, combined with financial support, could reduce losses and help nightclubs weather what we hope will be a short period until they are able to operate normally again.

“The Scottish Government is acutely aware of the financial implications for many businesses. We will work with the nightclub industry to develop targeted financial support for businesses that will now be required to close.”

Gavin Stevenson, vice-chair of the Night Time Industries Association (NTIA) Scotland, said: “Our team have been in close dialogue with government officials in recent days, as the regulations already being implemented across the late night and hospitality sectors, such as one metre social distancing and all seated table service, would prevent most nightclubs from operating in a way that was commercially viable.

“Scottish Government’s announcement today provides additional support for those nightclub premises who are unable to repurpose and trade as a bar, while also allowing those who can repurpose to stay open. This represents a pragmatic compromise, and we are grateful to ministers and civil servants for taking the concerns of the sector into account and committing to additional funding for those businesses.

“We await further details of the additional support which will now be made available, and would urge ministers to ensure that the new closure grants are proportionate to the scale of need so as to ensure the survival of hard pressed Scottish businesses and protect the jobs of staff who rely on them.”

The Scottish Government has published new and update guidance:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): tourism and hospitality sector – (

Coronavirus (COVID-19): supporting safer capacity in public settings and events – (

Coronavirus (COVID-19): safer businesses and workplaces – (