Pubs, restaurants and cafes in most of Scotland are being barred from selling alcohol indoors for more than two weeks as part of efforts to curb Covid-19, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.
Five health board areas – Greater Glasgow & Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire & Arran, Lothian, and Forth Valley – face stricter restrictions, with pubs and licenced cafes to shut to all but takeaway customers for the same period.
The measures come into force at 6pm on Friday for 16 days until October 25th.
People in the five health boards under tougher restrictions have also been asked to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary in the next two weeks, and use it only when travelling to work, school or for other unavoidable reasons.
While a travel restriction is not being enforced on people in these areas, Ms Sturgeon urged residents not to travel beyond their own health boards, and for those elsewhere in Scotland not to visit them.
Snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls will close in these areas for two weeks from October 10th, with contact sports and indoor group exercise for those 18 and over suspended for the same period.
Outdoor live events will be banned in the five areas for the next two weeks.
Scotland’s First Minister revealed the “difficult but important temporary measures” aimed at curbing the spread of coronavirus in a statement at the Scottish Parliament.
She said the prevalence of the virus across Scotland is currently around 13% of its March peak, but the case number is estimated to be growing by 7% each day.
Health board areas under tougher restrictions
Greater Glasgow & Clyde
Ayrshire & Arran
Ms Sturgeon warned that without taking action, the country risks “returning to the peak level of infection by the end of the month”.
The new restrictions will not apply for weddings which are already booked and funerals.
She said the inevitable risk of transmitting the virus in indoor environments where different households and age groups can mix “can be increased, in some hospitality premises”.
Ms Sturgeon apologised for the “significant impact on many premises” the restrictions will have, and announced a £40 million fund to help affected businesses.
The First Minister stressed the changes do not amount to a new lockdown such as that imposed in March and schools will remain open, with no requirement for people to stay inside their homes.
Scotland recorded 1,054 new coronavirus cases in 24 hours, according to figures published shortly before Ms Sturgeon’s parliamentary statement.
The record high figure was published by the Scottish government from Health Protection Scotland data.
One further death of a patient within 28 days of first testing positive for the virus was registered in the past 24 hours, taking this total to 2,533.
The new cases represent 13.0 per cent of newly-tested individuals, down from 13.2 per cent on Tuesday.
Of the new cases, 410 are in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, 195 in Lanarkshire and 190 in Lothian.