Pubs, restaurants and cafes will be able to open their doors to customers again from Wednesday next week.
Nicola Sturgeon gave the green light to a July 15 reopening for tourism and hospitality businesses as she moved Scotland into phase three of its plan out of lockdown.
Beer gardens and other outdoor hospitality were permitted to resume work from Monday while most shops have already received the go-ahead to reopen.
And from July 13, non-essential shops inside shopping centres will be able to reopen, opening up the vast majority of Scotland’s retail sector.
Dentists will also be able to resume most routine treatments from that day, and children will be allowed to play organised outdoor sports.
As of July 15, indoor hospitality will resume on a limited basis, with public health safeguards in place.
Holiday accommodation like hotels, B&Bs, caravans and campsites can also open again, along with museums, galleries, cinemas and libraries.
All such sites will have to fulfil public health conditions – but will see the two-metre distancing rule relaxed to one metre in these sectors provided they meet them.
It comes after chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed VAT will be reduced for all UK tourism and hospitality firms to 5% from Sunday.
He also announced everyone will receive an ‘eat out to help out’ voucher to be used on selected days in August, offering a 50% discount on meals – up to £10 a head – for those who dine out.
Haidressers and barbers can also resume work from July 15, as can Scotland’s childcare sector, the First Minister confirmed to MSPs on Thursday.
Further, in an unexpected move, places of worship can reopen for limited communal prayer.
The contact details of those in attendance will have to be collected, as they will be in pubs, restaurants and hotels.
Restrictions at funerals, weddings and civil partnerships will also be eased on that same date, though wakes and receptions must continue to follow limits on household gatherings and hospitality.
Sturgeon said: “I am well aware that the restrictions we have had to place on attendance at funerals in these last few months have been particularly hard to bear.
“I am grateful to everyone who has complied, in what I know will have been heart-breaking circumstances.”
From July 22, beauticians and nail salons may reopen too, also earlier than planned.
On that same date, universities and colleges can also begin to implement a “phased return to on-campus learning”.
The First Minister warned the changes permitting indoor hospitality were among the most “high risk” her government had enacted since lockdown.
Sturgeon escribed her statement to Parliament as “the most significant milestone yet in Scotland’s emergence from lockdown”.
She said: “I hope that the measures we have announced or confirmed today are welcome.
“All of them, of course, depend on us keeping the virus under control.
“Eliminating it as far as possible now – ahead of the almost inevitable challenges we will face come winter – remains our objective.
“And we will not hesitate to reimpose restrictions if we consider it necessary to halt the spread of the virus and save lives.”
Phase three could last longer than the scheduled three-week review date, the First Minister said, adding the shift to phase four may take longer.
The third phase also brings changes to Scots’ social lives, with indoor meetings between three households – and overnight stays – permitted from Friday.
The total of three households must comprise no more than eight people meeting indoors, Sturgeon said.
Outdoor gatherings of up to 15 people, comprising up to five households, will also be allowed from tomorrow.
The FM said: “Just as with indoor household meetings, opening up indoor hospitality poses significantly increased risks of transmission.
“So it is essential that the guidance on health and safety is followed rigorously, by businesses, staff and customers.
“That includes guidance on physical distancing and taking customer contact details.”
She re-emphasised the Scottish Government’s ‘FACTS’ campaign to help the public follow public health guidance. The acronym stands for:
- Face coverings where required, in shops and on public transport.
- Avoid crowded places.
- Clean your hands.
- Two-metre distancing remains the norm.
- Self-isolate and book a test if you develop coronavirus symptoms.
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