Scotland to ease two-metre rule for some sectors

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland to ease two-metre rule for hospitality and other sectors as Coronavirus lockdown restrictions relaxed

Related tags: Scottish government, Social Distancing, Coronavirus

Nicola Sturgeon has said Scotland's two-metre physical distancing rule will be eased for some businesses when the country enters the next phase of its routemap on 9 July.

Speaking to reporters during her daily Coronavirus briefing earlier today (2 July), the First Minister explained that while the general advice to remain two metres away from people in other households will remain, in some sectors, such as hospitality and retail, the contact gap could be reduced to one metre providing mitigations are met. 

She said: "Sticking to two metres can have adverse economic implications, for those reasons when we enter phase three we will allow exemptions for some sectors.

"The general rule, in law, will be to make sure two metre distancing is maintained, but that some businesses will be able to go to one metre."

She explained that in circumstances where businesses are allowed to reduce the contact gap, 'mitigations' must be followed to help protect both staff and customers.

These mitigations will be different for each sector, but might include outdoor seating, plastic screens, regulation of customer flow and improved ventilation.

Some businesses will also need to collect the names and phone numbers of customers in order to help with contact tracing.

Sturgeon added that the Scottish Government “reserved the right” to reimpose the need to follow the two metre rule one businesses if evidence emerged of an increased infection rate.

Marc Crothall, chief executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance, says the First Minister's announcement is what the tourism sector in Scotland has eagerly been anticipating.

"While this decision will be welcomed by many operators in Scotland’s tourism industry, all those who I have personally spoken with remain very mindful of the absolute need to provide reassurance to their staff, customers and importantly those in the communities where their business is based," he says.

"They are all committed to adopting at very least the recommended government and public health sector guidance, and in turn carry out COVID-19 risk assessments to check they have all the required processes and protocols in place.

"We are in contact with numerous businesses across all sectors every day and I have been impressed with the commitment, initiative and determination of these businesses in going above and beyond what is required to provide their staff and customers, both the environment and experience that they will feel confident in and can enjoy and importantly, reassurance to those in their communities that safety is a priority."

While the date is yet to be officially confirmed, Scotland's hospitality sector is currently set to be allowed to restart on 15 July.  

Related topics: Business

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