Following plans first announced in October last year, the Home Office has confirmed a two hour extension of pub licensing hours across England and Wales on each of Friday 8 May 2020 and Saturday 9 May 2020 to mark the 75th anniversary of VE Day. An announcement to this effect on the gov.uk website reads as follows:
Pubs, clubs and bars, which are licensed to trade until 11pm, will be allowed to open for an additional two hours, on Friday 8 May and Saturday 9 May from 11am until 1am the following morning, to mark the anniversary.
The order, laid in Parliament today, will also apply to premises licensed to provide entertainment such as music, dances, plays and films.
Commemorations and community events will be held across the country to remember the heroism of British, Commonwealth and Allied armed forces personnel and the contribution of ordinary citizens to the war effort.
The early May bank holiday has been moved from Monday 4 May to Friday 8 May to mark the anniversary.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “VE Day events across the country will see the nation come together to pay tribute to the heroes who fought for our freedom and supported the war effort at home. Pubs are at the heart of our communities and this is a great opportunity to raise a glass to mark this historic occasion”.
This decision follows a consultation with partners including representatives of licensing authorities, the police, the licensed trade, community groups, veterans’ organisations and the Welsh Government.
Past national occasions where the government has extended licensing hours have included the FIFA World Cup in 2014 and the Diamond Jubilee celebrations in 2012.
Further details of the UK Government’s commemorations for VE Day will be announced by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in due course. Plans to mark VJ Day are also under consideration, and further details will be provided in due course.