Scotland nightclubs: new rules explained, when will venues close, and can I get a refund for New Year tickets?

Nightclubs in Scotland will be closed until January because of the rise in Covid cases across the country

Nightclubs in Scotland will be closed for at least three weeks after Christmas, according to government officials.

The new measure falls in line with the latest Covid restrictions which were announced earlier this week by the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon.

It’s the latest New Year’s Eve blow for Scots.

The traditional Hogmanay celebrations have also been cancelled - which includes the Edinburgh street party, and other large events throughout the country.

Edinburgh’s traditional four-day Hogmanay celebrations typically begin on December 29 and ends on New Year’s Day (Photo by Peter Sandground/Unique Events via Getty Images)

So, when will nightclubs close in Scotland - and can I get a refund on my New Year’s Eve plans?

Are nightclubs open on New Year’s Eve in Scotland?

From 27 December, nightclubs across the country will close their doors, Deputy First Minister John Swinney announced.

But there is an exception to the rule.

If the nightclubs do stay open, they will look very different to what clubbers are used to.

The government has said nightclubs will close unless they can operate with appropriate social distancing between groups and table service.

If this can’t be achieved then they will have to close their doors for at least three weeks.

This means - if clubs are shut for the maximum time - they will reopen from 17 January.

Scotland has put a stop to nightclubs opening from December 27, for three weeks (Photo by Rob Pinney/Getty Images)

It comes as legislation was tabled by the Scottish Government at the Covid-19 Recovery Committee on Thursday (23 December).

“Having engaged with the sector we now propose to require that nightclubs should not operate as such for this three week period,” Swinney said.

“While it would be open to them to operate with distancing and table service, and that option will remain, we consider that closure in regulations, combined with financial support, may reduce losses and help these businesses - whether what we hope will be a short period until they are able to operate normally again.”

It follows new restrictions, which were announced earlier this week, bringing back the requirement for one metre of social distancing between groups.

There is also a maximum capacity of 100 people at a standing indoor event or 200 people seated, which would limit the number of people who can attend nightclubs.

Hospitality venues will also be asked to reintroduce some Covid measures from 27 December for a minimum duration of three weeks.

Any venue which serves alcohol, such as a pub, bar or restaurant, will be required to offer table service only.

Those in Scotland are also encouraged to to limit contacts, stay at home and minimise socialising from 27 December.

Can I get a refund for my New Year’s Eve ticket?

There will be a few events organisers in Scotland scratching their heads over the new rules.

Many club bosses, no doubt, will be in talks over what the rules means for them, whether they can open safely with social distancing measures in place - or questioning whether opening is really worth it.

UK consumer expert - Which? - has some helpful advice for how to reclaim ticket costs because of Covid restrictions.

Which? says the first thing you need to do is to contact the company that sold you the tickets and request a refund - if it doesn’t offer one automatically.

If you’ve bought tickets for New Year’s Eve bashes through primary retailers, like Ticketmaster, or through the event organiser directly, you benefit from consumer protections through The Society of Ticket Agents and Retailers (STAR), the industry’s watchdog, which oversees refunds.

However, if you purchased tickets from a secondary ticket seller it might be a bit more tricky to claim. It’s important to rigorously check the conditions on its website as some companies offer guarantees or other protections.

If an event you have tickets for is postponed, hold on to those tickets tightly until a new date is announced. If you’re unable to attend the rescheduled date, you can claim a refund of the ticket’s face-value price. However, if the event goes ahead as planned but you’ve decided not to go, you’re not legally entitled to a refund.

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