First Minister Nicola Sturgeon honours her promise to pub operators to visit a beer garden

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon told pub operators in a call she would be willing to visit a beer garden as lockdown measures eased, and she was as good as her word. She visited the Cold Town House in Edinburgh’s Grassmarket and met with owner Nic Wood just ahead of today’s official lockdown release for beer gardens and pavement cafes.

The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon saw first hand the measures Signature Pubs have put in place to allow staff and customers to work and socialise safely and which will hopefully encourage customers to return to pubs.

The First Minister said, “No beer garden or café should feel the same as it did before. The vast majority of the hospitality industry will be following the rules and putting in place new procedures to help control the virus. People should look for those safety measures and be aware of the need to follow the FACTS at all times when out in the community.  If you don’t see those safety measures, or you don’t feel you can follow appropriate hygiene rules, then don’t take the risk.

“If we continue to stick to the rules we will be able to drive the virus down further and live less-restricted lives in the weeks and months ahead. Until then support local businesses if you can, socialise safely and make sure that while you enjoy yourself you also protect others.”

Stephen Montgomery, President of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, added: “The SLTA welcomes the reopening of our sector today, with the first phase, our beer gardens.

“We understand that there will be changes in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19 which we are sure customers will understand.”

These changes include gathering customers contact details to allow contact tracing if necessary. Anyone planning on sitting-in during a trip to a beer garden or outdoor café will be asked to provide their name and contact telephone number to the business as well as logging the date and time of their visit.

In the event an individual who has been in such venue tests positive for COVID-19, NHS Scotland’s Test and Protect service may ask for details of anyone present at the same time in order to contact them and advise them to isolate.

Stephen Montgomery added, “We would encourage customers to keep to physical distancing measures and work with premises to ensure public health is maintained, including providing staff with contact details to support Test and Protect.”

The First Minister concluded, “I hope that as we take these first gradual steps out of lockdown people will begin to feel more of the sense of normality that we have worked so hard for – although it is important to remember that the virus has not gone away so we cannot get complacent.”

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