Pub bosses fear they could be punished if customers break coronavirus rules while watching Euro 2020 matches.
Scotland’s footballers broke a 23-year hoodoo by qualifying for the European Championships, which will be played in cities across the continent.
Bars and pubs are allowed to show games – but are prohibited from marketing them as key events.
During the matches singing and shouting will be banned.
However, with reduced attendances in stadiums at Euro 2020 because of the pandemic, city centre venues are expected to be busy for matches,
In particular a high turnout is expected for the Tartan Army’s clashes with the Czech Republic, England and Croatia.
Landlords in the north-east are concerned current Covid-19 rules mean they could face hefty punishments such as fines if there is cheering or shouting on their premises – even if they attempt to enforce the rules.
Last November several venues in Aberdeen were punished after footage emerged of customers celebrating as Scotland beat Serbia to qualify for Euro 2020.
Sanctions included temporary bans on selling alcohol, fines and being ordered to remove televisions.
‘Venues need enforceable rules’
Stuart McPhee, the director of Siberia on Belmont Street and the spokesman for the trade body Aberdeen Hospitality Together (AHT), called for “realistic” measures to be put in place.
“The rules need to be reviewed as soon as possible,” he said.
“Just now if there is a goal and one person celebrates it is the venue that’s liable. That seems totally out of balance.
“At Siberia we have a capacity of 134 just now and it is a physical impossibility for us to control every one of those people. It doesn’t matter how hard we try to enforce it, if one person breaks the rules we are then held liable.
“We need rules that are enforceable and that allow us to be a bit more hospitable than we are being just now.”
He added: “We all have our part to play in suppressing the virus but some of the regulations that are in place for hospitality just now have totally lost their way away from their original intention.
“Now it is micro-managing aspects of people’s lives which don’t need to be micro-managed.”
Calls for a review of the measures ahead of Euro 2020 have been backed by Ryan Houghton, the city growth and resources convener on Aberdeen City Council.
Businesses ‘need clarity’ on regulations
Mr Houghton, the Conservative group leader, has written to First Minister Nicola Sturgeon asking her to reconsider the current regulations, which he described as “not practical”.
“We know games are coming, we know how people will react to the highs of a game and what we need is clear updated guidance for venues that is reasonable and practical for the staff to manage and for local authorities to enforce,” he added.
“Throughout this whole pandemic, businesses have risen to the occasion on every event and adapted to the new rules.
“However, to do this they need urgent clarity on what any updated guidance will include and they need it in advance so they can properly prepare for any changes.
“With sensible guidance, in consultation with the hospitality sector we can create an environment that remains enjoyable, safe and sensible for customers and the public.”
Draft Project on Justice Mill Lane was handed a temporary alcohol ban and ordered to take down its televisions after this footage emerged following the Serbia match in November.
Other city bars, including the Bieldside Inn and the Golden Tee in Torry, were also punished.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “While we encourage everyone to enjoy the Euro 2020 championships responsibly, we know that transmission risks are higher when we sing, cheer and embrace, so we need to make sure we celebrate in a responsible manner and follow the current rules on physical distancing.
“We remain in a precarious position with the Delta variant causing additional levels of concern and we do not want to undermine the hard work and sacrifices that have been made to get us to this point.”