Community / Licensing extensions granted for fire festivals and Christmas period

A BLANKET extension of licensing hours for the various fire festival venues over the coming months has been granted.

The general extension was approved at a meeting of Shetland’s licensing board on Monday.

Up Helly Aa and fire festival events have traditionally been deemed by the board to be of local and national significance.

For Lerwick’s Up Helly Aa licensed venues can stay open until 9am the following day, with bars having to close at 3.30am.

For the other fire festivals the extension is for licensed premises to close by 4am, with bars shutting at 3.30am.

The extension also covers the customary jarl’s breakfast events.

There have been no Up Helly Aas or fire festivals in Shetland since the spring of 2020, with the Covid pandemic postponing all events.

But they will return in 2023, with the first being Scalloway’s fire festival in January.

Shetland North and Bressay member Stephen Leask moved that the extension be granted, saying he was “absolutely delighted” to do so.


“I’m sure we are all glad to see Up Helly Aa up and running again,” he said.

Meanwhile the usual general extension for Christmas and New Year for pubs and clubs was also granted.

All licensed premises can stay open until 2am between 17 December and 2 January, both dates inclusive, while clubs can open until 3am on any day during the period.

The festive extension was granted last year, but it was not in force in 2020 due to the Covid pandemic.

Shetland Central member Catherine Hughson moved that the blanket extension be put in place, adding that it was important to support the licensed trade as it emerges from Covid restrictions.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.

Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.

Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has  over 600 supporters  who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.

Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -

  • Bring you the headlines as they happen;
  • Stay editorially independent;
  • Give a voice to the community;
  • Grow site traffic further;
  • Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.

If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.



Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.