LICENSING chiefs have allowed pubs to extend the hours in which they serve alcohol and food during the World Cup – but only for the England games.
Pubs around the town will be able to serve booze to punters for up to four hours beyond kick off time when the Three Lions are in action.
However the licence extension will only be permitted until 1am for tomorrow night’s game with Italy, which kicks off at 11pm.
Ian Harrison, Hartlepool Borough Council’s principal trading standards and licensing officer, said: “Licensing hours are being partly relaxed for England games only during the World Cup.
“This applies to both the initial group stages and then the subsequent knock-out rounds, should England get that far.
“The relaxation applies only to premises licensed to sell alcohol for consumption on the premises. It does not apply to off-licences or takeaways.
“The relaxation extends the hours for the sale of alcohol and late night refreshments at these premises for a maximum of four hours beyond England’s kick off time.”
After kicking off the World Cup campaign against Italy tomorrow night, England will next be in action when they take on Uruguay next Thursday, June 19 at 8pm when pubs will be allowed to serve alcohol until midnight.
The final group for Roy’s boys will be on Tuesday, June 24, against Costa Rica but that game has an earlier kick off time of 5pm.
Should England make it to the knock-out stages of the tournament and have a 9pm kick off, pubs will only be allowed to serve alcohol until 1am.
Pubs where a licence permits a certain period of ‘drinking-up time’ can add that time on to the allowed extended hours.
It comes as community safety and health chiefs in Hartlepool are warning town residents that they face more than just a hangover if they fail to stick to their limits while drinking alcohol this World Cup.
Health chiefs say the Department of Health recommended limits of two to three units a day for women (about two small glasses of wine) and three to four units a day for men (about two pints of four per cent lager).
Louise Wallace, Hartlepool’s director of public health, said: “The results of drinking above the recommended limits on a daily, or almost daily basis increase your risk of hangovers, anxiety and impotence to breast cancer, stroke and heart attack. It can also put strain on relationships with family and friends. We know many people will be attending World Cup parties when alcohol measures are normally more than double what would be served in a pub so it’s really important that people keep track of what they are drinking.”
Council leader, councillor Christopher Akers Belcher, chair of the Safer Hartlepool Partnership, said: “Many people will be looking forward to enjoying a drink while watching the World Cup at home or in the local pub but it’s easy to get carried away.
“Statistics also show that the excessive drinking of alcohol leads to increased crime including domestic violence and places strains and stresses on family relationships.”
The Safer Hartlepool Partnership has produced a series of posters to encourage people to drink and act responsibly during the World Cup which are being displayed around the town.
l For advice about alcohol-related problems contact Hartlepool Alcohol Services on (01429) 285000. Anyone suffering from domestic violence can contact Harbour Support Services 24-hours a day on (01429) 277508.