Hospitality in Scotland to begin reopening with restrictions on 26 April

16 March 2021 by
Hospitality in Scotland to begin reopening with restrictions on 26 April

Hospitality in Scotland will be able to reopen with restrictions from 26 April if coronavirus cases continue to decline, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Cafes, restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve people outside in groups of up to six from three different households until 10pm. Alcohol may be sold on its own without the need for an accompanying meal.

Sturgeon said she hoped indoor hospitality could also reopen in a reduced capacity at the same time, with venues limited to serving food and non-alcoholic drinks, an 8pm curfew and groups of up to four people from a maximum of two households only.

Tourist accommodation may also reopen from 26 April, subject to other restrictions on hospitality, and up to 50 people can attend weddings, funerals and associated receptions.

It is hoped all areas of Scotland under its highest level 4 restrictions will be able to move to a "modified" level 3 on the same date.

From 2 April Scotland's ‘stay at home' message will be replaced by ‘stay local', with people encouraged not to leave their local area for a further three weeks.

However, Sturgeon said on 26 April restrictions on travel within mainland Scotland will be "lifted entirely" and it is hoped journeys to and from the rest of the UK will be permitted on the same date or "as soon as possible thereafter".

Sturgeon said she hoped indoor hospitality could return to "greater normality" from 17 May, when indoor hospitality in England is due to reopen, with alcohol served indoors and longer opening hours. She added some restrictions, such as taking bookings in two hour slots, could remain in place.

The ambition is that all of Scotland will move to level 1 restrictions from early June and then level 0 by the end of the month.

UKHospitality Scotland executive director Willie Macleod said the industry needed more clarity over how the restrictions would apply.

He warned the curfews on opening hours would restrict the ability of businesses to break even when they were "only just clinging on".

He added: "After such a devastating year for hospitality, it is encouraging to see light at the end of the tunnel and dates that we can begin to work towards.

"There is, however, going to be significant disappointment from businesses that hospitality will be so tightly restricted in the first weeks of the reopening.

"We also need clarification that restrictions around indoor hospitality, specifically the 8pm curfew, will not extend to hotel residents."

On 22 March businesses eligible for support under the Scottish government's Strategic Business Framework Fund will receive a final four-week grant. On 19 April businesses will receive a final combined payment made up of two weeks closure support and a one-off restart grant. This will mean a payment of up to £19,500 for eligible hospitality and leisure businesses.

Sturgeon said the unpredictable nature of the virus made it difficult to offer a precise date for reopening nightclubs and gig venues but she was "optimistic" they could return by the summer.

Photo: Shutterstock

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