Pubs and restaurants in Scotland's central belt forced to close

Clay Curtis
October 16, 2020

The more severe measures, including the complete closure of pubs and restaurants from Friday until Sunday, October 25, will affect five health board areas whose populations include the most heavily populated parts of Scotland.

In the central belt, people will also be asked to avoid public transport and not travel outside this area unless they must.

Hospitality venues such as pubs and restaurants will not be allowed to serve any alcohol indoors, and they'll have a curfew of 6pm. "But we want the social isolation exemption - people who use cafes, especially the elderly, singly parents, those with kids who can't have people in their houses right now, we want them to still see each other, but very, very safely". Gyms can remain open for individual exercise.

She said: "I readily accept that that has resulted in a lack of clarity".

"We are determined - if at all possible - that this will continue to be the case".

"It would have been much easier and would have given much greater clarity just to stick to the position that cafes with a licence had to close, but we made a decision to try to strike a different balance". They must take place on regulated premises.

Industry sources described the new rules as "devastating" and signing the death knell for many establishments.

The First Minister told the briefing: "Government, all governments, are trying to strike right now nearly impossible balances between lives and jobs". To try to interrupt this trajectory, we must act now.

SCOTLAND Coronavirus

She said the prevalence of the virus across Scotland is now around 13% of its March peak, but the case number is estimated to be growing by 7% each day. "That should have a significant impact on transmission rates".

"I know these are unwelcome and believe me when I say they have been imposed with the greatest reluctance, but I would urge all of you to stick with them".

The Scottish Beer & Pub Association (SBPA) said that thousands of jobs are now at "high risk" and that the £40million of economic support offered would be unlikely to save many businesses.

The First Minister mistakenly referred to a Jaffa Cake as a biscuit and was swiftly corrected by ITV News Scotland correspondent Peter Smith.

Professional sports can go ahead but contact sports and training for over 18s will be put on hold for the same period.

Cafes with a licence have been told they can remain open as long as they do not serve alcohol but there is confusion over what constitutes a cafe. In five hotspot areas all licensed premises - with the exception of hotels for residents - will be required to close indoors and outdoors, though takeaways will be permitted until 26 October.

There are 397 patients in hospital confirmed to have the virus, up by 20 in 24 hours.

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