Pubs can stay open for longer during Euro 2024 - on one condition

Hospitality chiefs hope the extension will allow venues to take full advatage of the influx of customers

Tom Watling
Wednesday 08 May 2024 09:40 BST
A bartender wearing an England football shirt pours a pint at a pub
A bartender wearing an England football shirt pours a pint at a pub (Getty Images)

Pubs will be allowed to stay open until 1am if England or Scotland progress to the semi-finals of Euro 2024, the Government has said.

Venues will be permitted to extend their opening hours from the usual 11pm closing time in England and Wales, giving fans the chance to celebrate or commiserate should their team reach the final four.

In Scotland, which has separate laws, a Scottish Government spokesperson said it was up to local licensing boards to decide on a possible extension.

It is hoped the move, which comes after a consultation at the end of last year, will provide a boost to the hospitality industry after a difficult few years during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said: “We have listened to the public through our consultation and will be extending pub licensing hours should England or Scotland reach the semi-finals or final of Euro 2024.”

He added that the move will “allow friends, families and communities to come together for longer to watch their nation hopefully bring it home”.

The semi-finals are currently scheduled to take place on Tuesday 9 July and Wednesday 10 July, with the final taking place on Sunday 14 July.

The head of trade body UK Hospitality, Kate Nicholls, said the extended hours were “essential to allow venues and fans to take full advantage”.

England fans will be hoping the Three Lions can once again reach final of the Euros this summer
England fans will be hoping the Three Lions can once again reach final of the Euros this summer (PA Archive)

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “With the Euros fast approaching, for many people there can be no better place to cheer on their team than with a refreshing beer at their local pub.

“It’s great news that the Government has anticipated the likely interest from pubs to keep their doors open a little longer for the semi-finals and finals during the European Championships.”

England reached the final at the last Covid-delayed Euro 2020, losing out to Italy in a penalty shoot-out. Back then, the pubs were allowed to stay open later than usual.

If England can improve on last tournament’s result, it will be the first major trophy won by the country since the World Cup in 1966.

The Government has previously pushed back pub closing times for royal weddings, the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016, the Fifa World Cup in 2014 and the last Euro final in 2022.

The Home Secretary, under Section 172 of the Licensing Act 2003, can make an order relaxing licensing hours to mark occasions of “exceptional national significance”.

The legislation will be laid in Parliament on Wednesday to ensure there is enough time for it to be debated and passed before the tournament begins.

Scotland is the only home nation that qualified for the tournament. Wales narrowly missed out after losing to Poland in a penalty shootout last month.

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