Pubs to open longer if UK nations reach Euros semis

In a potentially welcome announced for the hospitality industry in England and Wales, the government has set out plans to extend licensing hours for the semi-finals and final of the men’s European Football Championships next year, should England, Wales or Scotland reach the final stages of the tournament.

In a public consultation launched 27 November 2023, the government has proposed that pub licensing hours in England and Wales should be extended from 11pm to 1am if any of the UK nations remaining in the tournament reach the latter two rounds in Germany.

The Home Secretary has the power to extend licensing hours for occasions of “exceptional international, national or local significance”.

The plans, which will be subject to public consultation, would provide a welcome boost for the hospitality industry and clarity for pubs and bars. This is part of a series of recent government measures to boost the hospitality industry and make sure pubs and bars have the support they need to thrive, including the continuation of relaxed licensing regulations that allow pubs, restaurants and bars to sell takeaway pints without red tape holding them back.

Pub licensing hours were previously extended for the men’s Euro 2020 final, and pubs also stayed open longer for the King’s Coronation bank holiday weekend earlier this year.

The public consultation will run for 12 weeks with the government to consider the views from the public, licensing authorities and hospitality industry.

Hospitality venues that could benefit from this easing of licensing should start planning their “special EURO 2024 late night events”. The UEFA EURO 2024 fixtures can be viewed online at https://www.uefa.com.

Of course, to benefit from this licensing largesse in England and Wales – if it passes scrutiny – one or more of the UK nations actually have to qualify. Otherwise, supporters will need to drown their late night sorrows at home.

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