ANY pubs refusing to comply with the instruction to shut due to the coronavirus outbreak will now be forced to close by Police Scotland.

On Friday, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced that all pubs, cafes, nightclubs, bars, restaurants, theatres, leisure centres and gyms were to close from that night onwards.

However, some pubs refused to do so as it wasn’t legally required.

But now, Police Scotland have obtained legal advice and can instruct officers to serve emergency closures on any licensed premise which is not complying.

Deputy Chief Constable Malcolm Graham, Police Scotland’s lead for coronavirus, said: "There has been an exceptionally high level of compliance across Scotland with the UK and Scottish Government instruction for entertainment venues to close, with thousands of premises shutting.

“However, I am aware that a small number of public houses are intent on defying this instruction and have indicated that they will remain open until legally ordered to close.

“This is absolutely reckless and endangers not only the lives of customers, but wider communities, in an extremely fast moving and unprecedented situation where both the health and safety of the nation is at stake.

"Therefore, I have obtained further legal advice today and Police Scotland will now instruct officers to serve emergency closure orders on any licensed premises which refuses to comply on the grounds of the threat posed to public safety.

“Officers are now visiting these premises today to have them closed.

“A compulsory closure under the Licensing Scotland Act remains in place for 24 hours but can be repeated as necessary.

“We will also report them to their relevant licensing board for further action to be considered.

"We are aware of the proposed legislation in relation to coronavirus, and are carefully considering the implications in this very fast moving situation.

“These are exceptional times and I would again urge everyone to stay safe and listen to the clear advice coming from health experts and government.”