Scottish hospitality to reopen with physical distancing requirements

20 April 2021 by
Scottish hospitality to reopen with physical distancing requirements

Scottish hospitality can begin reopening with restrictions from 26 April, but some business owners remain concerned about the impact of social distancing rules.

Cafes, restaurants and bars will be allowed to serve up to six people from two households indoors, but face an 8pm curfew and ban on serving alcohol.

Alcohol will be permitted in outdoor hospitality settings such as beer gardens with opening hours set by local licensing restrictions.

Premises will have to display their capacity limits and must take details from all visitors, rather than just one person in a group.

Customers sitting at the same table who are not from the same household will be required to keep a one metre distance from each other, as well as from other tables, both indoor and outdoors.

Speaking at a coronavirus briefing today, first minister Nicola Sturgeon said the rules remained consistent with last year, adding: "Yes I do expect people in hospitality who are from different households to stay one metre apart."

Images of guide table sizes and measurements released as guidance ahead of reopening have prompted concerns from the hospitality industry.

Stephen Montgomery, spokesperson for the Scottish Hospitality Group, said in his restaurant one seating area would be reduced by 22 seats to 10 people in total.

He said: "This is yet another further example of Scottish government not understanding the issues around the workings and viability of a hospitality setting."

Montgomery added that there was "no real definition" around how a one-metre gap would be measured last year and criticised the issuing of more complex guidance so close to reopening.

He said: "This is not acceptable when we have only days before we open, and this cuts down our already unviable trading situation inside under the level 3 restrictions to an even worse scenario. This just is not good enough and the communication of it all has been terrible."

When Sturgeon was asked about concern from hospitality businesses today she said the rules "have not changed".

She added: "I would love to say to hospitality open up with no physical distancing… [but] I would be deeply and utterly irresponsible to do that.

"We are going as far as we can to enable hospitality to open up with as much capacity as possible."

Photo: Shutterstock

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