Nightclubs in Glasgow will be able to temporarily open as bars under new licensing rules.
Clubs had to shut down in March in response to the Covid-19 pandemic and remain closed, without a timescale for reopening as normal.
Glasgow’s Licensing Board has agreed to cut the red tape to process licence variations faster.
It is understood up to 40 clubs in the city will be able to operate as bars.
Councillors also agreed a six-month extension to licences which allow venues to serve alcohol outdoors to provide more space.
Board chairman Matt Kerr said: “Unfortunately there is no sign of Covid-19 disappearing any time soon and the impact of the virus will be felt for the foreseeable future.
“Glasgow’s licensed trade supports thousands of jobs and we must do everything we can to support this vital part of the city’s economy.
“There’s no real prospect that the restrictions on nightclubs are going to be lifted in the near future and that means owners have a massive challenge to deal with.
“So we have to be flexible enough to give operators an opportunity to reshape their business to operate as an ordinary bar.”
Clubs which choose to operate as a bar, with customers seated at tables, will be able to open from 11am to midnight every day of the week.
Licensing chiefs agreed to the changes on Friday and it is understood applications could be processed within a week, instead of several months.
Venues will need to comply with the Scottish Government’s Covid-19 Tourism and Hospitality guidance.
The change of use would normally require a major variation to a premises licence, which would include a £200 fee and a consultation process.
Under the temporary arrangements, decisions will be made by the clerk to the Licensing Board.
They will be subject to the submission of an operating plan, layout plan, Covid-19 risk assessment and £20 fee.
Mr Kerr said: “These are very much temporary measures intended to give licence holders a fighting change to protect jobs in the middle of an unprecedented situation.
“But applications will be fully assessed by the police and the City Services team to make sure any changes will meet licensing, environmental and building standards.
“If given the go-ahead, premises must comply with the restrictions designed to suppress the spread of the virus or there is a clear risk temporary licences will be revoked.
“But everything I have seen indicates the city’s licensed trade is working exceptionally hard to ensure they can trade while keeping staff and customers safe.”
More than 170 occasional licences have been granted under temporary arrangements so far, providing extra outdoors space while social distancing requirements are in place.
As part of the automatic extension until the end of March, venues must continue to collect customer details, provide hygiene arrangements and follow social distancing criteria.
By Local Democracy Reporter Drew Sandelands