Restrictions on indoor alcohol sales in Scotland set to ease on 17 May

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Restrictions on hospitality businesses in Scotland serving alcohol indoors set to ease on 17 May

Related tags Scotland Coronavirus Coronavirus tier system

Restrictions on Scottish hospitality businesses serving alcohol indoors are set to ease across most of the country next week, but pubs and restaurants will still be subject to curfew restrictions.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today (11 May) that lockdown rules will be relaxed from May 17 as previously planned, with nearly all of mainland Scotland moving to Level 2 restrictions under the country's five-tier system.

This will mean that pubs and restaurants will be able to serve alcohol indoors once more, with up to six adults from three households able to meet indoors in a public place.

However, hospitality businesses will remain subject to a 10:30pm curfew under Level 2 and only to offer table service, with guests limited to just a two-hour dwell time.

Social contact rules in outdoor hospitality settings will also be eased, enabling up to eight adults from eight different households to gather.

Emma McClarkin, the CEO of the Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA), welcomes the First Minister's announcement, noting that businesses have struggled to operate viably since the partial reopening of the sector last month.

“This is an expected but very much welcomed announced from the First Minister," she says.

"Since a partial reopening on 26 April, Scotland’s pubs and bars which could utilise outdoor spaces have given it a real go, but ultimately the weather and the restriction to alcohol service indoors has made trading viably a real difficulty.

"The recommencement of indoor service from Monday will give a real boost to the country’s hospitality sector and operators are looking forward to welcoming customers back again safely."

The one exception to the move to Level 2 restrictions could be in Moray, which Sturgeon said was 'very likely' to remain in Level 3 after a surge in cases, meaning alcohol sales are restricted to outdoor settings and hospitality businesses are subject to a 10pm curfew.

Indoor service is 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.

Most of the Scottish islands, meanwhile, will move to Level 1 restrictions on Monday, with hospitality only subject to an 11pm curfew and able to host groups of up to eight people from three households indoors.

Sturgeon has previously said she hoped all of Scotland would be able to move to Level 1 restrictions by early June.

The First Minister must look at removing the curfew as soon as possible, and at the very least, in time for the country moving to Level 1 in early June," adds McClarkin.

"With no further economic support and trading extremely difficult, we run the risk of businesses failing just before the recovery begins.”

Scotland has five levels of Covid restrictions ranging from full lockdown (Level 4) down to Level 0, which removes all curfew restrictions on hospitality businesses.

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