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Nicola Sturgeon hints at possible pub crawl ban in Scotland

By Paul Dawson


The first minister indicated that Covid-19 increases were “potentially an issue of people going from one pub to another”.

The first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, has hinted that a potential ban on pub crawls may be on the cards in Scotland.

Despite being a mainstay of Freshers’ Week in Glasgow, with hundreds of students hitting the streets going from one bar to the next, the popular event may come to an end as the first minister looks to crack down on Covid-19 cases after a recent spike in Aberdeen.

The question was put to the first minister by BBC Scotland’s Andrew Kerr during her daily Covid-19 briefing on 6 August, where she was asked about the possibility of a ban citing the recent rise in cases in Aberdeen and its lockdown, as well as asking how a move could be done.

The first minister responded about the subject after it was indicated that the outbreak in Aberdeen was “potentially an issue of people going from one pub to another”. 

Sturgeon would go on to say that the Scottish government had not yet reached a view on such a ban, but said it was something that the Scottish government could not ignore. Additionally, the first minister further insisted that the guidelines and regulations are regularly reviewed, with these particular circumstances meaning it becomes a situation where guidance becomes law, further stating:

“We have got to review this regularly to decide whether it is strong enough and whether we are being clear enough… We are looking at whether we need to tighten up regulation on hospitality.” 

Sturgeon went on to admit that the idea of hospitality facilities including restaurants, pubs, and cafes may soon have the mandate of having every customer fill out a track and trace slip, as she described some as “assiduously” enforcing it while others being more “laissez-faire” on the matter. 

The first minister has yet to finalise a decision but has reassured the public that a decision will be made soon. 

As universities get ready for a return and the beginning of the Freshers’ season, this may leave many new students missing out on the typical university experience that Freshers’ Week provides. Pub crawls are a staple of the Freshers’ Week activities and are regularly carried out by almost all of the clubs and societies at the University of Glasgow.

Breandon O’Caoimh, President of Glasgow University Politics Society released a statement to The Glasgow Guardian on a potential ban:

“Of course, with all the current COVID-19 restrictions in place (at the time of writing) surrounding pubs and numbers of people allowed to meet, it would be impossible and irresponsible for us as a society to hold any kind of pub crawl during Freshers’ Week 2020, so if this ban was to be put in place, it would actually affect very little on what we’re currently permitted to do as a society… We make up most of our yearly intake of membership at Freshers’ events like the Politics Subcrawl and rely on the ability to be able to go pub to pub to accomplish this.” 

It is unlikely that any societies affiliated with the SRC will be permitted to hold such events, but there are currently no rules prohibiting people from carrying out pub crawls.


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