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Timetable announced

Pubs dismayed by latest easing of Covid restrictions

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Garden centres will re-open

Nicola Sturgeon today outlined a timetable for re-starting the economy, easing travel restrictions and enabling hospitality and tourism venues to reopen.

Shops, hair salons and garden centres will be allowed to resume trading from 5 April, the First Minister has announced.

However, meetings outdoors, including in private gardens, will still be restricted for several weeks.

While business groups representing retail and tourism welcomed the new timetable there was huge disappointment from bar owners that restrictions remain on serving alcohol indoors and that drinks-focused pubs will therefore have to wait longer to reopen.

SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson said: “This is not the news we were hoping for. Yes, it’s good news for those bars, restaurants and cafés with suitable facilities who will be able to serve people outdoors – in groups of up to six from three households – until 10pm from 26 April.

“However, for indoor hospitality, today’s news is yet another bitter blow and we are surprised that the Scottish Government has chosen not to allow premises to sell alcohol when they reopen next month.”

CAMRA Scotland’s director Joe Crawford said:  “Pub goers, licensees and brewers will be disappointed to see our pubs being treated unfairly compared to similar businesses like cafés and non-essential retail. 

“The return of curfews and a ban on alcohol being consumed indoors is devastating news for the industry.”

Ms Sturgeon said everyone over the age of 50 and all adults with particular underlying health conditions should have received their first dose of the vaccination by the middle of April.

“It will give us confidence to ease restrictions much more significantly from 26 April,” she said.

“On that date, we expect all parts of Scotland currently in level 4 to move down to a modified level 3.”

From the 5 April:

  • sports for 12 to 17-year-olds are expected to resume
  • more students – particularly in further education – will be allowed to return to on-campus learning
  • the phased re-opening of non-essential retail
  • click and collect retail services will be permitted to reopen
  • homeware stores, and car showrooms and forecourts
  • garden centres
  • hairdresser and barber salons

From 26 April cafés, restaurants and bars will be able to serve people outdoors – in groups of up to six from three households – until 10pm.

Alcohol will be permitted, and there will be no requirement for food to be served. There could be limited indoor opening of hospitality.

This will be limited initially to the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks until 8pm, and for groups of up to four people from no more than two households.

All remaining retail premises are expected to re-open along with all tourist accommodation, libraries, museums and galleries.

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Indoor gyms will reopen for individual exercise on that date.

Parts of Scotland in level 4 are expected to move to level 3, and restrictions on journeys within mainland Scotland are expected to be lifted entirely.

It is hoped restrictions on journeys between Scotland and other parts of the UK can also be lifted, if not on 26 April, then as soon as possible thereafter. But there will not be any international travel before 17 May.

From that date up to four people from two households can socialise indoors in a private home or public space.

Hospitality venues will re-open until 10:30pm indoors (alcohol permitted, 2-hour dwell time) and 10:00pm outdoors (alcohol permitted)

Outdoor adult contact sport and indoor group exercise can restart.

Cinemas, amusement arcades, and bingo halls can open.

Small-scale outdoor and indoor events can resume subject to capacity constraints.

The ambition is that from early June, all of Scotland will move to level 1 – which will mean:

  • Up to six people from up to three households can socialise indoors in a home or public place
  • Up to eight people from three households can socialise outdoors
  • Eight 12-17 year olds can meet socially from eight households outdoors
  • Hospitality can remain open until 11pm
  • Attendance at events can increase numbers subject to capacity constraints

Comment: That’s handy, Covid rules ease just in time for an election



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