Pubs get 1-metre go-ahead, new shopping rule
Coverings will be mandatory in shops (pic: Terry Murden)
Face coverings will be mandatory in shops in Scotland from 10 July and there will be some relaxing of the 2-metre rule to help the hospitality sector, salons and shops.
The five-mile travel travel restriction for leisure will be lifted, apart from an area of south west Scotland where there is an outbreak Covid-19.
On coverings the first minister said there will be some exemptions for children under five and for those with certain medical conditions.
Self-contained holiday accommodation, such as cottages and lodges, can reopen from tomorrow, 3 July.
Beer gardens and pavement tables can operate from Monday. There will be no standing areas.
This is the news that the industry has been eagerly anticipating– Marc Crothall, Scottish Tourism Alliance
The 2-metre rule will remain, but exemptions will be allowed in phase 3 to cut it to 1-metre if there are extra safeguards in place, such as in shops.
The government guidance says: “These exceptions would take into account the wider harms caused by the 2-metre
rule to broader health, the economy and society.”
There was a broad welcome for the relaxation of restrictions, but some concern at the lack of detail, particularly on the distancing rule.
Marc Crothall, Chief Executive of the Scottish Tourism Alliance said that relaxing the 2-metre physical distancing rule to 1-metre “is the news that the industry has been eagerly anticipating”.
Recent research by the STA revealed that the majority of businesses in the tourism sector would be economically unsustainable if the 2-metre physical distancing rule remained.
“Today’s news will mean that many hundreds of businesses that had not planned to reopen may now reconsider and plan to do so,” he said.
More than 2000 tourism businesses have already gone through the recommended UK-wide Covid-19 ‘Good to Go’ accreditation and many more doing the same before reopening from the 15 July.
Mr Crothall said reports from the self-catering sector – which opens tomorrow – indicate that bookings are healthy.
Colin Wilkinson, managing director of pubs and bars group the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said: “This news will further help the rebuilding of the industry and gives Scotland’s pubs and bars the lifeline they need for their survival.
“Without this reduction it is estimated that two-thirds of our pubs and bars would not have been able to open and operate viably, leading to a large number of business closures and mass job losses.
“This announcement, however, does not help an estimated one-third of premises which will still be wondering when they can reopen.”
Tracy Black, CBI Scotland director, said: “With the easing of restrictions taking place at different speeds across the UK, political leaders must work in partnership to minimise confusion and maximise collaboration.”
David Lonsdale, director of the Scottish Retail Consortium, said Scottish Ministers “have clearly listened to a number of the representations that the retail industry has made in determining further relaxations of lockdown.
“Lifting the five mile limit, not asking shopworkers to enforce the wearing of face coverings, and accepting our argument that physical distancing could be reduced when appropriate mitigations are in place, will help retailers’ operations without impinging on public health.
“More steps will be needed, but there is much retailers can support in the First Minister’s announcement.
David Lonsdale: ‘more steps needed’ (pic: Terry Murden)
“However, the lack of a definitive and firm date for the re-opening of stores in shopping centres and malls is unfortunate, some fifteen weeks after they were shuttered due to lockdown.”
Andrew McRae, FSB’s Scotland policy chairman, said: “There is a lot in this announcement and it is complicated – particularly around the two-metre rule.
“So, it will be crucial that the businesses who will be in charge of implementing the new rules are given clear guidance on the rules and their practical application.
Face covering assurances
On making face coverings mandatory, Mr Lonsdale said that leaving enforcement to the authorities “should hopefully remove any potential risk of new frictions or flashpoints with customers.
“It’s therefore very welcome that Scottish Ministers have listened to our representations and understood while retailers and their staff will work to support this measure, it won’t be their legal duty to enforce it.”
Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard was concerned about what he considered a lack of clarity in the changes.
Richard Leonard: lack of clarity (pic: Terry Murden)
He said: “Today’s statement poses more questions than it answers. We needed clarity from the First Minister and her government, and this statement did not offer it.
“There is no real clarity especially over when the one metre distancing rule will apply, and without that, enforcement will be impossible.
“The introduction of mandatory face coverings in every shop in Scotland in eight days time is a big change in policy which should have been announced in Parliament and subject to proper scrutiny. Scientific opinion on this is mixed.”
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