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Glasgow City Council

City Services Group

As we all work together to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, a number of changes have been made to the way Council Services are being delivered during this time. You can find the details on our COVID-19 webpage.

We understand that this is a difficult time for business but Glasgow City Council is committed to working with you to assist in the recovery and to return to a form of operation of your business while restrictions continue to be in place and the Scottish Government's phased approach to easing lockdown requires to be followed.


Now that Glasgow has moved down to Level 2 it is anticipated that licensed premises across the City will be keen to show the EURO2020 games

If your premises or venue is preparing to show the football please remember;

  • Ventilation - where possible, keep windows and doors open to allow fresh air to circulate.
  • Distancing - ensure that measures are in place to ensure distancing between households and groups on the premises is maintained.   
  • Noise - make sure you've carried out and documented your sound level setting exercise for the venue as outlined in  Scottish Government Hospitality Guidance
  • Booking - ensure that bookings taken are in line with the household gathering rules.  Scottish Government guidance recommends bookings do not exceed 2 hours within indoor hospitality settings.
  • Table service - whilst in Level 2 customers cannot queue at the bar for service, arrangements require to be in place for table service. 
  • Test and Protect - customer details require to be retained for test and protect purposes.  Where possible, details for all customers should be recorded.  If using the Check-In Scotland App make sure the QR Code is clearly visible to all patrons
  • Testing - if advertising on social media we would encourage you to signpost patrons to Lateral Flow test kits that can be ordered online.
  • Capacity - Ensure that your venue does not exceed the Covid-19 physical distancing based capacity
  • Cleaning - Ensure that you are adhering to your cleaning schedule, paying particular attention to hand contact surfaces
  • Face Coverings - remind all staff and customers that face coverings require to be worn when not seated within the premises
  • Stewarding - ensure that stewards are available as required and that they are aware of the Covid procedures that have to be followed. 

Under Scottish Government guidance the broadcast of live sport should not be actively promoted or turned into an "event".  Should you be advertising in this manner the expectation is that the Scottish Government Event Sector Guidance be applied.  Events are currently subject to capacity limits and these are established within The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020.  In addition to capacity limits, there is the requirement for the business to operate with 2m physical distancing in place within the venue for the duration of the event period. 

Watching football can be an emotional experience and it is recognised that fans will want to celebrate together when goals are scored and unfortunately covid-19 mitigations cannot override human behaviour.   However, you should ensure that all other mitigations are in place and that consideration has been given to what steps will be taken in the event of unruly patrons on match days. 

It is hoped that through implementation of control measures we can continue to work together to control Covid-19 transmission and ensure Glasgow can move safely to the next stages of the route map

Updated Guidance - Current Restrictions

Covid-19 Scotland's Strategic Framework came into effect on 2nd November and was updated in February 2021.  This introduced the Local Levels (Level 0 - Level 4) which determine the Covid-19 restrictions in effect in a Local Authority area at any point in time. 

Glasgow, along with the rest of Mainland Scotland, is currently in Level 3. A further easing of restrictions is anticipated from 17th May, at which point the First Minister has indicated that she expects Scotland to move to Level 2.

While in Level 3 restaurants, caf├ęs, pubs and bars can serve alcoholic drink outdoors, with only non-alcoholic drinks permitted indoors.

Hospitality operators must bear in mind what constitutes an outdoor area when setting up structures which will partially enclose an area. The structure must not be substantially enclosed i.e. the sides require to be at least 50% open.  The structure should also be at least 1.5 metres away from any other buildings or walls to allow adequate ventilation. The intention of an outdoor structure is so to provide basic shelter from the elements and not to replicate indoor conditions.  If the sides are more than 50% enclosed you will not be able to serve alcohol for consumption in the area while we remain in Level 3.

Operators must also ensure that their risk assessments are updated with the use of structure to ensure all relevant risks have been identified and sufficient control measures are in place to manage these risks. Risk assessments should cover- inspection, anchorage, stability, fire safety, electricity, heating, slip/trip/falls- n.b. this list is not exhaustive. 

Please also see the 'External Areas' section below for further information. If in doubt, operators can contact Environmental Health at for advice prior to construction/operation.

Officers are available to provide advice on Covid-19 controls and compliance with the current restrictions. This includes businesses which are currently closed but looking for advice on Covid-19 controls prior to re-opening. Contact us at

For businesses seeking advice on restrictions from 17th May, we will direct businesses to the relevant sector guidance and provide advice where possible. However, until relevant amendments to the legislation are published we may be unable to provide specific answers to certain enquiries.

    Guidance for businesses which have not yet reopened

    The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements)(Local Levels) (Scotland) Regulations 2020 identify categories of business which still require to remain closed and outline physical distancing requirements for those permitted to trade.

    Officers of Environmental Health and Trading Standards are authorised under the regulations and are available to provide advice on compliance. We would, however, remind businesses that it is their responsibility to access the law and guidance. Sector specific guidance can be accessed on the Scottish Government website.

    Once you have reviewed the guidance and consider it possible to re-open your business in accordance with Scotland's Strategic Framework and Scottish Government's Route Map, it is essential that you carry out a risk assessment and put appropriate controls in place to ensure you can operate your business safely - protecting your staff and customers as well as the general public.

    Guidance to assist you document your COVID-19 risk assessment and policy can be found at Guidance on operating your business safely (Environmental Health).

    Officers of Environmental Health and Trading Standards may contact you to discuss your Covid-19 controls.


    Officers of Environmental Health and Trading Standards are authorised under the regulations. In addition to responding to requests for advice, to ensure compliance with the regulations we are:

    • Proactively contacting businesses deemed as higher risk        
    • Carrying out patrols of locations as appropriate
    • Responding to allegations and intelligence about non-compliance

    It is anticipated that in most cases non-compliance can be effectively addressed through engagement and cooperation with business. However, formal enforcement action will be taken where appropriate to the risk to public health or where a business refuses to comply.

      External Areas

      If you have an existing external area and it is located on a public footpath or pedestrianised precinct and you already have a permit to operate an external area then you are allowed to include this area within your COVID-19 control plan Unless you have been contacted by us to discuss.

      Note that the operation of the external area will be monitored for compliance and if found to be non-compliant with the permit conditions, licensing conditions (where appropriate) or any regulations associated with the COVID-19 legislation, we may rescind the permit and any licence revoked.

      The document pdf icon COVID-19 Re-opening Guidance for Pubs and Restaurants [260kb] includes information on the use of external areas which may be of assistance.

      If alcohol is to be sold and consumed in the external area, see part 5 of the pdf icon section 59 conditions [19kb] for information regarding licensing.

      A new condition will now be attached to the permit and this relates to the width of footpath available once your external area is in position.  If you cannot leave a width of 2m then it is necessary to revisit the size and location of the external area and you should get in touch via the contact form on this site.

      If you do not currently have a permit to operate an external area and wish to apply you may do so on a temporary basis.

      If the external area is on a footpath or pavement then you will require to apply for a Section 59 Permit.

      The new streamlined process now allows for both an application for a temporary permit and for an Occasional Liquor licence in respect of an external area for existing licensed premises via the one form.

      To apply for a permit and occasional liquor licence in respect of an external area then please complete our online application form.

      If the external area is on any other land, you will be required to provide confirmation of the landowner's permission in writing.

      You can find out more information on remote outdoor areas on our frequently asked questions page.

      Please note that 'A' boards on footways present obstructions for those with mobility issues and also for the visually impaired. We would remind you that these are not permitted on footways.


      If you already have a permit to operate an external area for existing licensed premises or where you have an external area on private land for existing licensed premises and the area is included within your premises licence then this will remain in place.  However, the maximum capacity of customers that can be accommodated within your external area is likely to be reduced in accordance with the Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tourism and Hospitality Sector Guidance (to follow).

      If you already have a permit to operate an external area for existing licensed premises or where you have an external area on private land for existing licensed premises and the area is usually covered by occasional licences you will automatically be granted an occasional licence without having to apply which will remain in effect for an extended period of 3 months. You will not require to pay a fee. The maximum capacity of customers that can be accommodated within your external area will be reduced in accordance with the Scottish Government Coronavirus (COVID-19): Tourism and Hospitality Sector Guidance (to follow).

      If you operate existing licensed premises and wish to apply for a new external area and require both a permit and an occasional licence, a new streamlined process allows you to apply for both via the one form

      If you operate existing licensed premises and wish to apply for an occasional licence for a new external area which does not require a permit, for example on a private car park or beer garden, an occasional licence application should be emailed to You will be required to provide evidence that you have permission to use the area. A fee is not required. If granted, the occasional licence will apply for an extended period of 3 months.

      An application form for an occasional licence can be found here. An occasional licence will only be granted for the sale of alcohol to be consumed within the external area, generally commencing no earlier than 11am and terminating no later than 10pm each day of the week. There may be cases where an earlier terminal hour will be applied.

      The licensing conditions associate with an occasional licence may be found here.

      All occasional licences for outdoor areas granted under these temporary arrangements will have effect until 30 September 2020. If, however, the operation of the external area is found to be inconsistent with one or more of the licensing objectives and the issues cannot be adequately resolved, the occasional licence may be revoked at any time by the Clerk to the Licensing Board.

      To find out more about licensing and the impact of COVID-19 please check here.

      "Hybrid" premises and the reopening of pubs, bars and restaurants on 15 July 2020

      "Hybrid" premises in Glasgow are subject to a policy and condition that after midnight, alcohol shall only be sold ancillary to the provision of substantial forms of entertainment. Given that the Scottish Government route map indicates that indoor entertainment venues (which includes nightclubs and music venues) will not reopen before 23 July at the earliest, hybrid premises should not remain open beyond 12 midnight as they are not able to comply with the condition on their licence. This would also apply to those premises which have hours after 12 midnight for pre-booked functions.  

      In addition, the Licensing Board will generally not grant earlier daytime extended hours for hybrid premises.

      Plan for Spaces for People

      Temporary measures to provide additional space for physical distancing in public places for people to walk, wheel or cycle while COVID-19 restrictions remain in place are being introduced across the city. These may affect the operation of your business, even temporarily. Review our plans for Spaces for People here.

      Update from Glasgow Licensing Board 3 July 2020

      We are currently receiving a high number of complaints in relation to pubs, restaurants and bars across the city selling "take away" pints and other alcoholic drinks in plastic cups directly to members of the public using the off-sales facility on their premises licence.

      While the Licensing (Scotland) Act 2005 is silent in relation to the way in which alcohol is to be sold for off-sales,  experience to date has established that this type of sale is clearly inconsistent with the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder and securing public safety in terms of the levels of street drinking and public urination which are being reported and observed as a direct consequence of such sales. The situation has now, sadly, become untenable and risks ruining the reputation of the vast majority of the city's responsible licensed trade.  

      We have been very supportive of efforts to keep the licensed trade in the city viable during this very challenging period. However, with the lifting of restrictions which will see the opening of external areas on 6 July and indoor areas shortly thereafter, as from Monday 6 July  the sale of alcohol directly to members of the public for consumption off the premises will be considered to be inconsistent with the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder and securing public safety unless it is sold as part of a home delivery or sold as a pre-packaged, properly sealed product such as a bottle of wine or cans of beer.

      Any premises who continue with this practice will risk having any occasional licence for an external area being revoked and/or a premises licence review being submitted to the Licensing Board.

      Planning Guidance

      The use of any external areas is also governed by Planning legislation. You must also take cognisance of the guidance in relation to this following pdf icon Planning Measure During Business Re-Opening document [78kb].


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