Nicola Sturgeon has announced that Scottish hospitality businesses can be ‘exemptions' from the two-metre rule, provided mitigations are put in place.
Sturgeon recognised the "serious economic implications" of the two-metre distancing for some hospitality businesses, and that the exception could be the "difference between staying in business and closing".
The general advice to stay two metres apart will remain unchanged, and when outdoor hospitality spaces such as beer gardens and pavement cafés are able to reopen from Monday 6 July, they must initially continue to comply with the two-metre rule.
Self-contained accommodation such as holiday lodges, cottages and caravans with no shared facilities can reopen from tomorrow and the guidance for people not to travel further than five miles for leisure purposes will also be lifted, with the exception of certain postcodes in the south west of Scotland.
However, when wider areas of hospitality in Scotland begin to reopen from 15 July, as long as mitigations are put in place, hospitality will be one of the sectors that can be ‘exempt' from the two-metre rule if businesses so choose.
Guidance will be published today on what kind of mitigations may be required, such as Perspex screens, regulation of customer flow, seating plans and improved ventilation.
Hospitality businesses will also be required to collect the names and addresses of customers to help with contact tracing, as well as provide clear signage to inform customers that they are ‘entering a one-metre zone'. The Scottish government will be working with hospitality to agree the mitigations and finalise detailed sector-specific guidance.
UKHospitality welcomed the clarification and executive director for Scotland Willie Macleod said: "Further clarification over the reopening of Scottish hospitality businesses is another welcome step forward. Particularly positive is the confirmation that the Scottish government will allow a reduction in the minimum social distancing requirement, with agreed mitigations.
"The next step for us is to work with the Scottish government to ensure that any requirements are proportionate and workable for hospitality. Finding a practicable set of solutions to enable businesses to trade as much as possible, while staying safe, and ensuring that customers feel confident, will be a priority and will be key to a successful reopening for our sector."