Pubs and restaurants set for Covid restrictions update

Nicola Sturgeon said a decision on measures will be made after a Wednesday morning cabinet meeting.

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The First Minister will update the country on restrictions for the hospitality sector on Wednesday.

Nicola Sturgeon said a decision on measures put in place to curb a rise in Covid cases will be made after a cabinet meeting.

Pubs and restaurants have been closed in the central belt, while elsewhere they have a curfew of 6pm and cannot sell alcohol indoors.

In health boards where premises have not been ordered to close, outdoor hospitality venues can serve alcohol until 10pm.

The restrictions are due to last until October 25 and were previously described as a “hammer blow” to the sector, which has taken a hit during the pandemic.

James Withers, chief executive of Scotland Food & Drink said: “We all want to suppress the virus, but there is no getting away from the fact that this is a hammer blow to Scotland’s hospitality sector and the businesses that rely on it.”

He said, while the measures may be short-term, they are “targeted at businesses that are barely clinging on to survival.”

Sturgeon said on Tuesday: “I will be saying more tomorrow about the hospitality restrictions and I will be doing that after the cabinet meets tomorrow morning to take stock of the situation and decide on our next steps.”

The First Minister also urged eligible businesses to apply for a £20m grant fund to support those impacted by the new measures.

She said: “I would encourage all eligible businesses to apply.

“By sticking to the new restrictions and either closing your business if you’re in the central belt, or operating it under restrictions if you’re in the rest of the country, you’re helping us to tackle Covid and helping us to stop it spreading so fast, and it’s really important that we help you to do that.”

Meanwhile, a new tiered system of lockdown restrictions will come into force in Scotland on Monday, November 2, if approved at Holyrood next week, Sturgeon added.

She said: “As part of that we will be considering, of course, whether there are parts of the country that need tougher restrictions than those in place in the central belt right now, or whether there are parts of the country that might be able to have less tough restrictions.

“We need to assess that on the basis of the up to date data.”