Covid restrictions ease in Scotland despite record infection levels

Customer details will no longer need to be collected by hospitality venues from Monday.

Covid restrictions ease in Scotland despite record infection levels iStock

Customer details will no longer need to be collected by hospitality venues – but face masks remain in place – as coronavirus measures ease further in Scotland from Monday.

It comes despite a rise in Covid infection levels across the country, with 376,300 people estimated to have had the virus last week, or one in 14 people.

Under the changes on March 21, the legal requirement for businesses and service providers to collect the details of customers for contact tracing will be dropped.

And the requirement for businesses, places of worship and others to take “reasonably practicable measures” set out in Scottish Government coronavirus guidance is also being ended.

However, the legal requirement to wear face coverings on public transport and in most indoor public settings is continuing until at least Monday, April 4.

It had been due to be scrapped on Monday, but the decision was taken to extend the requirement for a further two weeks “at least” due to a spike in Covid case numbers.

Making the announcement last week, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon explained the continued widespread use of face coverings would provided some additional protection against the virus.

And she told MSPs at the Scottish Parliament that ministers will review the requirement before the Easter recess.

In early April, it is their expectation that the regulation will convert into guidance, the First Minister said.

People experiencing Covid symptoms will also still need to take a test at least until the end of April.

From April 18, the Scottish Government will no longer advise people without symptoms to test twice weekly.

However, people working in health and care settings will still need to test twice weekly.

Scottish Labour has called for action to help the economy, despite describing it as a “sigh of relief” for businesses that some measures are being eased from Monday.

The party wants adults to be given high street vouchers to get people spending again.

But it also suggests there should be a public information campaign so people can be confident about the return to public places.

Scottish Labour’s finance spokesman Daniel Johnson said: “Businesses across Scotland will breathe a sigh of relief as restrictions are lifted today – but there is no room for complacency.

“The challenges facing Scotland’s economy didn’t start with Covid and they won’t end today.

“The cost of living crisis will pile added pressure on to businesses, as people cut costs to try and make ends meet, but once again the SNP and the Tory governments are failing to get to grips with the challenge.

“We need real action to get our economy moving again and undo the lasting damage done to our high streets by both the pandemic and by 15 years of SNP mismanagement.

“This means clearer communication and more ambition from the SNP government. Without these we are going to see our vibrant and important towns and cities decline.

“We cannot afford to miss this opportunity to build a stronger economy and get our high streets thriving again.”

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said ministers had “published an ambitious plan that sets out how we can transform Scotland’s economy”, which features “a ruthless focus on working with business and industry to deliver the changes we want to see”.

They added: “We are all too aware of the impact the Covid pandemic has had – and continues to have – on retailers, high streets and on the economy.

“That is why, since the start of the pandemic, businesses have benefited from more than £4.5bn in support.

“We are taking action to help retailers and communities recover – not least through our £80m Economic Recovery Fund and the forthcoming Retail Strategy.”

“We will also listen carefully to any constructive suggestions on what further steps we might take.”

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