*updated* Covid rules ease for indoor hospitality in most parts of Scotland from today as East Renfrewshire Covid case rates overtake Moray

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Covid rules have eased in most parts of Scotland with all mainland areas moving from level three to level two apart from Moray and Glasgow. In level two areas, pubs, bars and restaurants can now serve customers alcohol indoors until 22.30 with two-hour pre-booked slots. Most of the islands have moved straight to level one. But latest figures from Public Health Scotland reveal that East Renfrewshire – which has moved down to level two – has overtaken the case rates in Moray after a dramatic rise in infections over the past week.

There’s a lot of anger out there among operators in the areas not moving to level two.

Mark Lappin runs the One Leisure Group. He told DRAM, “I’m raging. This is the worst thing the Scottish government has done yet. There’s no way they got this information at 4pm on Friday to tell the world at 5pm – plus Nicola Sturgeon ambled on for a good hour before she got to the point. Even if we had known at midday it would have eased it somewhat.
“They are so removed from our industry it’s untrue. I bought in six grand of fresh food, 18 grand’s worth of alcohol and took 30 staff off furlough for five days to prepare. All this needs to be paid for. Not only that, I’m going to have to unfurlough the same number of staff again when we’re next expected to re-open.
“I’ve been dealing with Rural Economy minister Fergus Ewing for months and all he’s done is palm me off with lip service like ‘yes we’re listing to you’ when they clearly haven’t been.”

 

Said Glasgow’s Bloc+ owner John Burns, “I’ve been on the side of science and the government but this has really got under my skin. There’s so much anger out there and I feel for my staff and customers who want to get out the house and have that taken away at final moment. This playing havoc with people’s mental health.

“There’s no chance of Glasgow being kept at level there will be for only a week if you look at the events in George Square at the weekend alone, with no masks etc.  If that doesn’t set us back 3 or 4 weeks I’ll eat my hat.”

Deputy First Minister John Swinney told BBC Radio Scotland that there were grounds for optimism but the rising infection rates in Glasgow and Moray showed that any progress is ‘fragile’.

He said, “The East Renfrewshire rise had been very swift in taking its course. We will continue to monitor the situation in every local authority area and look at every single outbreak to determine if there are patterns.

“If there is a requirement for us to take action and apply restrictions once again, we will unfortunately have to do that.”

The relaxed rules also mean that cinemas, theatres, concert halls, music venues, comedy clubs and bingo halls can open with restrictions, likewise outdoor performing arts activities. People can meet socially in private homes in groups of up to six adults from three households with a maximum of eight people from up to eight households able to socialise outside. Hugs are also allowed.

National clinical director Prof Jason Leitch warned on Sunday that Glasgow might have to stay in love three for longer than a week if the rise shows no sign of abating. He said there was evidence the outbreaks in Glasgow were being driven by the so-called Indian variant but that this was less of a factor in Moray.

 

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