Scotland to lift hospitality restrictions next week

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland to lift hospitality restrictions next week

Related tags: Scotland, Coronavirus, Vaccine passport

It has been confirmed that trading restrictions on indoor hospitality settings in Scotland will be lifted next week, with nightclubs able to reopen again following an enforced four-week closure.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced this afternoon (18 January) that all Covid measures implemented around the festive period on pubs and restaurants will be lifted on Monday 24 January. 

Since late December​ licensed hospitality venues have been required to operate table service only; all indoor hospitality settings to ensure there is a one metre distance between groups of people who are attending together; and nightclubs have been forced to close.

Sturgeon said last week​ that she hoped the restrictions could be lifted from 24 January, but today was the first confirmation of plans to relax the rules. 

Speaking today, she said: "Given the improving situation - and as I said last week we hoped to be able to do - I can confirm today that all of these measures will be lifted from next Monday, 24 January."

It comes after UKHospitality Scotland called for an end to the restrictions​.

The trade body claims that businesses have lost more than £1bn due to the collapse of Christmas and Hogmanay trade.

There had been growing fears that Sturgeon would extend Scotland's Covid vaccination certificate (or 'vaccine passport') scheme to mitigate the easing of measures.

While no such decision was announced, the First Minister did say that the definition of what constituted a nightclub under the terms of the scheme would be tightened.

She said: "At the moment, nightclubs and other late night venues must apply the Covid certification scheme if they have, in use, a designated area for dancing.

"We intend to amend the definition here to provide greater clarity and prevent premises from avoiding certification simply by having tables on a dance floor - and therefore claiming it is not a dance floor - but still permitting dancing around the tables.

"This change will take effect from Monday when late night venues are able to reopen."

Related topics: Business & Legislation

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