Despite praising hospitality’s “sterling efforts” Nicola Sturgeon confirmed today that Scotland will move to Level 0 on 19th July but that social distancing outdoors would remain, and pubs, bars and restaurants must also shut their doors at midnight rather than follow local licensing rules.
Describing it as “not a complete and wholesale lifting of restrictions” but a “gradual approach” she said that closing hospitality venues at midnight must happen because hospitality is “a risky environment where people are less likely to follow rules” and that the measures “mitigate risk.”
A total of 15 people from the same number of households will be able to gather outdoors with a one-metre gap between each group, while inside hospitality venues, 10 adults from four households can meet, and there will be no need for customers to book a two-hour time slot.
Customers will still be asked to provide their contact details to support Test & Protect and will also be required to wear face coverings when not seated.
A maximum of 200 people will be able to attend weddings and funerals.
With regard to self-isolating she said that the blanket requirement for close contacts of those who test positive to self-isolate, will be removed from Monday, as long as they have had two doses of vaccine and take a PCR test.
She said that she still hoped Scotland could move beyond level zero from 9 August – the point at which the government aimed to scrap most legal restrictions.
Marc Crothall, CEO Scottish Tourism Alliance described the outdoor social distancing rule remaining as “disappointing”. He said, “It will be disappointing news today that the 1-metre distancing will remain outdoors for many of those businesses operating in the outdoor adventure and marine sector, especially as their counterparts south of the border are able to trade without this condition.
“There are understandably huge concerns across the industry in relation to the Scottish Government’s current self-isolation policy and the impact this is having on the ability for businesses to staff at required levels and in many cases, remain open. We are reassured by the Scottish Government’s commitment to removing the need for people to self-isolate if they are double vaccinated and come into close contact with a positive case.”
Leon Thompson, UKHospitality Scotland Executive Director, is calling for more financial support. He said, “Hospitality continues to trade in a very difficult environment which will not improve until all major restrictions are removed. Today we had hoped to hear something definite on this. Instead, businesses burdened with expensive short-term debt will continue to struggle, unable to break-even whilst ongoing and seemingly endless restrictions continue.
“Again, today’s announcement had nothing on financial support for Scotland’s hospitality businesses which are now set to fall further behind businesses in England. UKHospitality Scotland will continue to press the Scottish Government on this crucial point. A new package of support can make the difference between survival and closure for some businesses.”
She also expressed concerns about the uncertainty of long Covid, the fact the Delta variant was holding back NHS recovery and causing a backlog of non-coved care, and not being complacent about the number of young people getting the virus.
Nicola Sturgeon also reached out to those on the high clinical risk list – 13,000 of which haven’t had both doses of the vaccine – by telling them “we will not abandon you.”
As of 07:30 today, 3,941,571 people have received their first dose of the vaccine, an increase of 7,163 since yesterday, with 10,286 people received second doses of the vaccine yesterday, bringing the total number to 2,903,557.
The first minister said that the progress of the vaccination programme gives us “real hope” and that we are in the last stages of offering first doses to the adult population and confirmed that the vaccination programme is weakening the link between case numbers and severe acute illness.
The daily coronavirus figures show a further 2,529 people have tested positive for Covid-19, which is 11.5% of the tests carried out yesterday, bringing the total number of positive cases in Scotland to 318,566.
There are currently people 506 in hospital, 37 more than yesterday, and 41 people in intensive care, which is one more as yesterday, and there have been four further deaths reported, which brings the total deaths under the daily measurement to 7,761.