Pubs may extend opening hours if England or Scotland reach Euro 2024 semi-finals | Politics News

Pubs can extend their opening hours until 1am if England or Scotland reach the Euro 2024 semi-finals this summer.

Venues will be allowed to remain open for two hours longer on match days if one or both teams reach the quarter-finals or final, the government said.

Most pubs close at 11pm, but ministers can order opening hours to be relaxed to celebrate occasions of “exceptional national importance”.

Home Secretary James Cleverly said the move would “enable friends, families and communities to come together for longer and watch their nation hopefully come home.”

It covers venues in England and Wales, with Scotland and Northern Ireland responsible for their own licensing regulations.

The move comes following a consultation late last year and is expected to provide a boost to the hospitality sector hit hard by rising energy prices and the cost of living crisis.

Germany will host Euro 2024. The semi-finals will take place on Tuesday, July 9th and Wednesday, July 10th, and the final will take place on Sunday, July 14th.

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

Emma McClarkin, chief executive of the British Beer and Pub Association, said: “Reducing red tape will make doing business much easier.”

She added: “The beer and pub sector is set for a great summer of sport. So let’s hope England and Scotland not only make it to the semi-finals, but meet in the final itself, with pub-goers able to cheer on the teams. “These new measures will mean we can have a beer late into the night.”

Soccer Football - Euro 2020 - Final - Italy v England - Wembley Stadium, London, Britain - July 11, 2021 England's Harry Kane with Bukayo Saka after the match Pool via REUTERS/Laurence Griffiths
Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka console each other after the penalty shootout defeat to Italy in the Euro 2020 final

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England fell short of European glory at the COVID-delayed Euro 2020 after losing to Italy in the final.

Should the team manage to go one better this summer, it would be the first major trophy won by the men’s team since the 1966 World Cup.

Scotland is the only other home country to have qualified for the tournament. Wales narrowly missed out on a place after losing to Poland in a penalty shootout in Cardiff last month.

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The British government has previously postponed pub closure times for royal weddings, the Queen’s 90th birthday in 2016, the 2014 World Cup and the last European Championship final in 2022.

The opening times of the bars have also been extended during the king’s coronation weekend last year.

The law implementing the change will be passed in Parliament on Wednesday to ensure there is enough time for debate and adoption before the tournament begins.

A Scottish Government spokesman said it was a matter for local licensing authorities whether or not pubs were allowed to extend their opening hours.

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