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Council / Licensed premises given go-ahead to open late over festive period

A BLANKET extension of licensing hours for pubs and clubs in Shetland over the festive period has been granted.

However one proposed condition to require premises to give advance notice about when they will be open late was described as a “nanny state” move by Lerwick and Bressay councillor Stephen Leask.

Councillors ultimately decided not to make that condition mandatory. Instead premises will be encouraged to inform the board about planned late openings as a matter of “courtesy”.

All premises licensed for the sale and consumption of alcohol in the venue can stay open an extra hour until 2am between 16 December and 1 January, both dates inclusive, while clubs can open until 3am on any day during the period and not just the weekends.

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

The decision was made at a meeting of Shetland’s licensing board this morning (Monday).

The meeting heard that a general extension is used as making premises apply individually would be time consuming for staff.

Councillors also decided that licensed premises should notify the board as a courtesy before 30 November of the days on which they intend to remain open later.

It is hoped that this would assist with emergency and public resource planning, as well as future decision and policy making.

Councillor Leask initially said he was concerned about the prospect of making it necessary for premises to state weeks in advance about what days they intend to open late.

A report presented to the licensing board highlighted that when a blanket extension was applied to parts of Shetland during the Tall Ships this summer, premises also had to inform the board in advance.

Figures show that five premises in Lerwick, three in Scalloway and one in Unst made use of the Tall Ships extension in their areas.

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