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Business / Pubs allowed to stay open later over festive period

PUBS in Shetland will be allowed to open until 2am over the festive period again after councillors gave the green light to the blanket extension.

Members of the Shetland licensing board agreed to the extension – which was not approved last year due to the situation around the pandemic – on Monday.

The period in question will run from Saturday 18 December to Sunday 2 January.

The board is asked every year whether it wants to approve the general extension for licensed premises over the festive period, which would also allow clubs to stay open until 3am outside the weekends.

The licensing extension has been granted since 2009, except for the three years between 2010 and 2012, as well as 2020.

The board was told at its meeting on Monday that “this year, coronavirus and the efforts to prevent its spread continue to present additional factors for the board’s consideration”.

A report to members said the “Scottish Government and public health authorities continue to encourage vigilance designed to avoid the spread of coronavirus”.

But SIC solicitor Paul Wishart highlighted that Covid rules for licensed premises had relaxed since the extension was considered by the board last year.

Shetland West member Catherine Hughson moved for the extension to be granted, saying things had moved on since last year and that the sector has had a tough time.

Lerwick North’s Malcolm Bell, who seconded the motion, said not approving the extension could encourage people to drink more at homes and at parties – which, from a Covid perspective, could be more dangerous as it is unregulated.

Meanwhile the newly opened KB bar and restaurant in Scalloway has successfully applied to have changes made to its licence.

Licensing board members had no problem with the business adding receptions, live performances, televised sport and outdoor drinking to its operating plan.

Terms were also amended so people aged up to 17 can enter when accompanied by an adult for meals only between 11am and 9pm.

On advice from the police, members agreed to set a 10pm cut-off point for outdoor drinking.