New regulations on closure of licensed premises

As of Friday 25 September 2020, hospitality and licensed premises must close by 10pm

Further measures to protect the population from the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) were announced by the First Minister on Tuesday 22 September 2020 and as a result The Health Protection (Coronavirus) (Restrictions and Requirements) (Scotland) Amendment Regulations 2020 came into force on 25 September 2020.


The Regulations include the “Requirement to close premises during certain hours: restaurants, cafes, bars, public houses, etc., specifically stating that “A person who is responsible for a relevant hospitality premises must close those premises to members of the public between the hours of 2200 and 0500.”

The Scottish Government Advice and Guidance Document for the tourism and hospitality sector has also been updated.

Action required

In line with Scottish Government direction, all relevant hospitality premises (cafes, restaurants, bars, public houses, or hotels in which food or drink is sold for consumption on the premises ) must close, and premises vacated, by 10pm. From Friday 25 September 2020, all food and licensed premises must close to the public at 10pm.  This means that doors must be closed by 10pm with all customers departed from the premises. To facilitate this it is recommended that last orders are called at 9.30pm and notices are displayed within the premises to inform customers of the requirement to leave by 10pm. Hotels may supply food and drink on a room service basis after this time.  The food and drink must be delivered to the rooms. 

Off the premises

The Regulations do not prevent a person responsible for a relevant hospitality premises from selling food or drink for consumption off the premises either by making deliveries or by customer collection. However persons who collect food or drink in a vehicle must do so without leaving the vehicle.  

Table Service

All hospitality premises should be operating on a table service only basis with customers remaining seated unless visiting the toilet or smoking areas.  This must implemented now if not already done.

Rule of Six

  • The maximum size of any group meeting is six (not including children under 12).
  • The group can come from a maximum of two households (i.e. home addresses).
  • Test and Protect information must be taken for each household.


The frequently asked questions section of the Scottish Government Coronavirus tourism and hospitality guidance has also been updated.

Under the heading, pubs, restaurants and hospitality settings will be required to close at 10pm, the FAQ information includes:

Q: Do I need to close my doors at 22:00 or can I call last orders at 22:00?

A: Your premises will need to be closed by 22:00. Last orders will therefore need to be called at an appropriate time to allow service, customers to eat/drink up and to depart the premises to ensure doors are closed by 22:00.

Q: I run a hotel. Can I serve residents after 22:00?

A: Bar and restaurant services must close at 22:00 so it will not be possible to serve residents in these settings after this time. 

Q: I run a hotel. Can I provide room service after 22:00?

A: Yes, room service is still permitted after 22:00.

Q: Does the 22:00 limit apply to non-food / beverage service areas of a hotel – e.g. front hall, lounge?

A: The new restrictions apply to the hospitality spaces i.e. the bar and restaurant. If the lounge is providing hospitality services i.e. food and drink, then this will also need to end at 22:00.

Business support

There has been a package of support announced from both the Scottish and UK Governments to support businesses.

Information on this support, as well as advice on workplace safety and hygiene, is available through Find Business Support or through the Environmental Health Service.

For further information

  • Contact Midlothian Council Environmental Health
  • Telephone 0131 271 3345
  • Email [email protected]

To review the Scottish Government Guidance and Regulation


25 Sep 2020