Glasgow Licensing Board has recommended that the government allow all premises that serve food to remain open - to support the city’s hospitality sector and help tackle Covid-19.

In a letter to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, Glasgow Licensing Board expressed its recognition of the challenges facing the government during the on-going coronavirus pandemic.

But based on feedback from the licensed on-sales trade as well as the deliberations of the board, the letter also set out a series of possible measures intended to strike the appropriate balance between protecting public health and preserving the viability of the city’s licensed trade.

Recommendations included: a reconsideration of the definition of ‘café’ within the current regulations and allowing all licensed premises that serve food to remain open, even if alcohol can’t be served.

It also suggested introducing phased closing times for different types of licensed premises should a requirement for a curfew remain in place once the current restrictions are lifted. This includes a proposal for a ‘last entry/booking time’ system to help manage dispersal from premises.

The board believes that the liquor licensing system acts as an additional, powerful lever to ensure that premises comply with the controls created by the coronavirus regulations.

Protecting the licensed trade will therefore support the fight against Covid-19 in the longer term.

The letter also expresses concerns about:

  • The use of unlicensed restaurants, which are allowed under the coronavirus regulations but are beyond the scope of the licensing system.
  • Increased footfall in the premises that remain open during the current restrictions.
  • A growth of unregulated drinking in homes amid the closure of pubs, clubs and restaurants, where the consumption of alcohol is managed and Covid-19 controls are in place.
  • Customers leaving premises at the same time as a consequence of the 10pm curfew and the impact this had on other services such as taxis, buses and food outlets.

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Scotland’s hospitality industry has faced unimaginable challenges this year and we have worked hard to provide critical support to the industry.

"No-one wants the restrictions in place a moment longer than needed and they are kept under review.

"We will consider all the feedback we have received and will be discussing the proposed protections in the five level framework outlined today (Friday) by the First Minister with the hospitality sector ahead of it being debated on Tuesday.”