December 21 2014 Latest news:
Tuesday, February 4, 2014
Norwich publicans have said they will be largely unaffected by controversy about whether the government gives pubs blanket permission to stay open late for England’s World Cup matches.
The government initially rejected a call from the British Beer and Pub Association to allow serving times to be extended for two weekends during this summer’s competition in Brazil, but prime minister David Cameron yesterday ordered a rethink.
The issue will come up for England’s first match, against Italy, which is due to kickoff at 11pm UK time on Saturday, June 14.
The Home Secretary can allow extended opening hours for occasions of “exceptional international, national or local significance”, and granted a national extension during the Queen’s Jubilee, but initially said the World Cup did not meet the criteria.
However, a Home Office spokesperson yesterday said it would soon launch a consultation on the issue.
Of seven city pubs that show sports contacted by the Evening News, all but one said their licences already allowed them to open late enough for the first England game.
Phil Cutter, owner of The Murderers, said: “Anything is great news to bring people back to pub but I think certainly World Cups are a time when people traditional start coming back in and having a few beers, soaking in that atmosphere of the big sports occasions.”
Adrian Joyce, owner of the Temple Bar, said: “If it gets to a quarter final then you get a lot more interest and a lot more people want to come for the atmosphere. That’s what makes the pub better than sitting at home with your mates - there a whole atmosphere of maybe 150 guys and girls in the pub having a good time.”
However, he cautioned that there were only three definite England games, and they would neither make nor break his business.
Although many pubs said they would be open for England’s group matches, punters had mixed views about whether they would be watching.
Hilary Kemp, 60, from Horsford, said: “It’s on too late at night, literally. It’s early hours of the morning and I know someone who will be wanting to watch [her husband] and I don’t.”
However, Connor Love, a 19 year old personal trainer from Bowthorpe, said: “I probably will come [to the Temple Bar], to be fair. It’s a good atmosphere when you come to watch the games, so it’s definitely better than sitting at home on your own.”
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