Boris Johnson will extend pub opening hours on Sunday night in case the Euro 2020 finals go into extra time and penalties, sources claim.
Pubs will be able to serve thirsty punters until 11.15pm – rather than the usual 10.30pm Sunday closing time – on the night of the Wembley showdown.
Late opening will go ahead even if the Three Lions lose their titanic clash against Denmark tomorrow night and don’t make the finals.
No10 hope it will avoid uproar if fans are kicked out before the final whistle.
The emergency law change allowing pubs to stay open for an extra 45 minutes will be put to the Commons today.
Boris Johnson will extend pub opening hours on Sunday night in case the Euro 2020 finals go into extra time and penalties, reports suggest
Pubs will be able to serve thirsty punters until 11.15pm – rather than the usual 10.30pm Sunday closing time – on the night of the Wembley showdown
If Gareth Southgate’s squad triumph against Denmark tomorrow, they will face the winner of tonight’s last four decider between Spain and favourites Italy on Sunday night.
Due to Covid restrictions, the final at Wembley will have far fewer fans than pre-pandemic, forcing millions of England supporters to pubs and bars to watch the game.
The Prime Minister’s official spokesman said: ‘We are taking forward plans to allow pubs to open until 11.15pm on Sunday.
‘The entire nation has been gripped by the Euros and this will ensure people can come together to enjoy the final in pubs, should they wish to do so.’
The PM last night urged England to support the Three Lions ‘enthusiastically but sensibly’.
He also unveiled a raft of measures set to bonfire the virus rules and restrictions from so-called Freedom Day on July 19.
Late opening will go ahead even if the Three Lions (pictured training today) lose their titanic clash against Denmark tomorrow night and don’t make the finals
No10 hope it will avoid uproar if fans (pictured cheering during England’s clash against Germany last month) are ‘kicked out’ before the final whistle
Bullish Mr Johnson declared the end of compulsory mask wearing and table service in two weeks.
He also confirmed that nightclubs will be allowed to reopen for the first time since the first shutdown was imposed in March last year as he urged the public to use common sense and gauge risk for themselves.
UKHospitality said the announcement ‘marks a major milestone in how England will come to live with Covid and will be celebrated by hospitality business owners’ – but warned ‘it will still be a long road back for businesses that have been forced to take on debt just to survive’.
Chief executive Kate Nicholls said: ‘The Prime Minister’s announcement marks a major milestone in how England will come to live with Covid and will be celebrated by hospitality business owners and their staff across the country.
‘For the vast majority of hospitality businesses, 19th July – if confirmed next week – will be the first time in 16 months that they have been able to realistically look to break even and move towards profitability.
Britain yesterday recorded 27,334 coronavirus cases, with the UK’s daily toll having risen by around a fifth in the space of a week. Department of Health bosses also posted nine laboratory-confirmed deaths, up from just three last Monday
‘It will still be a long road back for businesses that have been forced to take on debt just to survive, especially with the reintroduction of business rates payments. Nevertheless, this is a critical move that will unleash a sector that is eager to play its part in the wider national recovery, to repay the support afforded it by the Government.’
The British Beer & Pub Association welcomed the Prime Minister’s announcement and said the easing would allow more than 2,000 more pubs forced to stay shut due to social distancing restrictions to reopen.
But after nearly 18 months of closure or operating under heavy restrictions, the trade body warned the ditching of lockdown measures would mark just the beginning of the sector’s recovery from the pandemic and urged the Government to reform VAT, beer duty and business rates.
Pubs and other venues will not have to collect customer details and will again be able to serve drinks at the bar from July 19
Emma McClarkin, its chief executive, said ‘Covid, the lockdowns and restrictions have nearly destroyed our pubs’. She added:’The lifting of all remaining restrictions on pubs in England, if the Government sticks to its roadmap, is hugely welcome for our sector. A pint of beer on July 19th is going to taste all the sweeter!
‘After nearly 18 months of forced closure or operating under severe restrictions – which crippled the viability of pubs – July 19th should mark the beginning of the recovery for our sector in England.
‘Over 2,000 pubs remained closed because they couldn’t viably operate with social distancing and table service only. Hopefully from July 19th, these pubs will be able to reopen. Covid, the lockdowns and restrictions have nearly destroyed our pubs. As they now get ready to reopen as normal once more, the recovery of our sector is only just beginning.
‘Having been one of the worst hit sectors by lockdown, our pubs and brewers now need the Government to invest in them by reforming VAT, beer duty and business rates to reduce the unfair tax burden they face and aid their recovery.’
Patrick Dardis, CEO of Young’s, said: ‘The summer is back on, all we need now is the weather to perk up. From the 19th July onwards, we will no longer ask staff or customers to wear masks. We will leave it to them to decide for themselves to or not to wear masks.
Track and trace QR codes are displayed outside a pub, in Manchester, north west England
‘This is the best news in 18 months, pubs will be allowed to be pubs again. We will embrace that and look forward to welcoming back vertical drinking and orders at the bar. It has been a long time coming, 18 months of been told what to do, how to do it, now we have our freedom back.
‘We can decide for ourselves, that is what liberty is all about. Bring on the 19th July.’
Michael Kill, CEO of the Night Time Industries Association, said the body was ‘encouraged by much of what the Prime Minister said’ but admitted it was ‘disappointed’ that Mr Johnson said the final reopening of nightclubs would be decided on July 12.
He said: ‘To hear the Prime Minister say that we need to learn to live with this virus is a long overdue step, and will be a relief to our sector. It is difficult to overstate the significance of the impact the pandemic has had on this industry. The Government’s support package has been important but insufficient.
‘After 479 days closed, we now need that counter set to zero so we can start to rebuild.’
Mr Kill added: ‘We have been encouraged by much of what the Prime Minister said today about what Government restrictions will look like in the next phase of reopening.
‘The end of social distancing; the end of the rule of six and table service for indoor mixing; no ban on mass events; the removal of the need to scan a QR code to enter venues; and the decision not to introduce Covid status certification – these are all very important steps that we have been campaigning for, because they are the restrictions which have decimated the night time economy over the last sixteen months.’