Restaurants in Scotland to remain closed, as First Minister sets out plan to ease lockdown

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants in Scotland to remain closed, as First Minister sets out plan for easing Coronavirus lockdown

Related tags: Restaurant, Scotland, Coronavirus

The Scottish Government will "no longer discourage" takeaway and drive-thru food outlets from reopening, but restaurants will have to remain closed for the time being under the First Minister's plans for easing lockdown.

Earlier today (21 May), Nicola Sturgeon set out the four-phase "route map" for restarting the country following the Coronavirus lockdown, which will be introduced in stages over the next few months.

During the first phase, which is expected to begin on 28 May, takeaway and drive-thru food outlets will be encouraged to reopen, providing they apply safe physical distancing.

However, "non-essential" indoor shops, cafes, restaurants and pubs, must remain closed during the first phase. 

The First Minster's plan does allow for pubs, restaurants and bars to reopen outdoor space, with social distancing and increased hygiene measures in place, during the second phase, but this will only be permitted once the country's R number (the rate at which the virus is passed from person to person) is consistently below one. 

Pubs and restaurants will be able to reopen indoor spaces with social distancing under the third phase of restrictions being lifted, which will occur once the virus has been suppressed and the country's 'Test and Protect' method is working across the country.

In her statement, the First Minister made clear that "there is no completely risk free way of lifting lockdown", with "the danger of a second wave later in the year very real indeed" if health advice and guidelines are not followed.

In England, Government guidance currently states that some hospitality businesses could reopen as early as 4 July​, but that venues where social distancing will be difficult to carry out will not be able to open fully at this time.

The guidance says: “Some venues which are, by design, crowded and where it may prove difficult to enact distancing may still not be able to re-open safely at this point, or may be able to open safely only in part.”

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