Hospitality in Scotland to continue facing significant restrictions as it emerges from lockdown

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Restaurants in scotland to reopen 26 April indoor hospitality 17 May curfew social contact rules Level system

Related tags Scotland Coronavirus lockdown

Scottish hospitality will face significant operating restrictions until at least June under the country's roadmap out of lockdown, which will allow pubs and restaurants to begin reopening from late April.

Addressing MSPs at Holyrood this afternoon (16 March), First Minister Nicola Sturgeon set indicative dates for the easing of restrictions on both indoor and outdoor hospitality settings, but stopped short of setting out a timeframe for when all measures would be lifted.

Restaurants and pubs will be able to reopen for outdoor and 'limited' indoor service when the country returns to a regional system of restrictions on 26 April. 

On that date it is hoped that all parts of Scotland currently in Level 4 – the highest level on the country’s five-stage scale - will be able to move to Level 3. 

Under amended restrictions it will mean that outdoor hospitality settings will be able to reopen and welcome groups of up to six people from three households.

Alcohol will be permitted and there will be no requirement for food to be served, but outdoor areas will remain subject to a 10pm curfew.

It is hoped some indoor hospitality could also reopen on 26 April, limited to the sale of food and non-alcoholic drinks for groups of up to four people from no more than two households, and subject to an 8pm curfew.

A broader easing of restrictions on indoor hospitality is planned for 17 May - the same as England - with alcohol sales allowed, but the same social contact rules in place. The curfew on indoor settings will be eased to 10:30pm on this date, but guests will be limited to just a two-hour dwell time.

Sturgeon added that she hoped all of Scotland would be able to move to Level 1 restrictions, with hospitality only subject to an 11pm curfew and allowed to host groups of six people from up to three households, by early June, moving to Level 0, which would see the lifting of curfew measures, by the end of June.

Unlike England's roadmap, however, the First Minister would not offer a date for when the country would be able to remove all social contact restrictions and allow the night-time economy to reopen. 

She said: "It is our fervent hope - and also our tentatively increasing expectation - that vaccination, continued use of the test and protect system, and probably a continued compliance with precautions like good hand hygiene, will allow us to keep Covid under much greater control.

"And that this will allow us to enjoy many of the things that we took for granted before the pandemic – for example, normal family gatherings where we can hug our loved ones, sporting events, gigs and nightclubs."

As Scotland moves out of lockdown, Sturgeon confirmed that financial aid would be tapered.

On 22 March recipients of support under the Strategic Business Framework Fund will receive a final four-week payment, with no new claims allowed after that date.

Then, on 19 April, recipients will receive a combined final payment comprising a further two weeks closure support and a one off restart grant.

For eligible hospitality and leisure businesses this will mean a payment on 19 April of up to £19,500.

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