Nicola Sturgeon has announced that, at this stage, the Covid certification scheme in Scotland will not be extended to further hospitality venues as it would "not be proportionate".
Customers will also be allowed to present a negative test rather than proof of two vaccines to enter venues that are already covered by the scheme from 6 December.
"While thankfully we are not at this stage seeing the rapid rise in cases that others are seeing, the case remains precarious," said Sturgeon, speaking in Holyrood today. "We must continue to take care and must not allow ourselves to be lulled into any false sense of security."
She said the R number was "hovering at or slightly above one" and restrictions were "essential if we are to navigate this winter as safely as possible and, crucially, without having to introduce more onerous restrictions".
Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) managing director Colin Wilkinson welcomed the decision but added: "The Scottish government needs to re-evaluate whether the remaining restrictions on this sub-sector are justified and proportionate and for support funding to be put in place for those business currently enforcing the policy."
The certification scheme will remain in place for venues serving alcohol between midnight and 5am, have a dance floor, and play live or recorded music. Only those that meet all three conditions need to comply. The scheme is also in place for unseated indoor live events with more than 500 people in attendance, outdoor events with more than 4,000 people and any event attended by more than 10,000 people.
UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson, said it was "very good news and provides some respite for businesses working hard to maximise trade across the festive period".
Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said it was a "good decision based on evidence", adding: "We would urge for continued support for hospitality venues across Scotland, especially as the festive period approaches. Hospitality is still facing significant challenges and the suffering from the long-term effects of the pandemic, with rising supplier costs and an ongoing recruitment crisis putting real pressure on the industry."
A survey of Scottish operators published said that if vaccine passports were extended to wider hospitality, 76.2% said they would not survive the winter without further government support and 95.4% would have to cut staff hours if trade reduced as expected.
Photo: Scottish Government / Flickr