Scotland’s beer gardens will not reopen as Nicola Sturgeon revealed a “staged” plan to further ease strict measures in place to curb the spread of coronavirus.
The ball is rolling on the Scottish Government’s second phase of its route-map out of lockdown, with changes for the general population taking effect from Friday, Monday, June 22 and Monday, June 29.
However a decision on reopening outdoor spaces at pubs, bars and restaurants will not be made for another two weeks.
Landlords had been hopeful of welcoming back customers to beer gardens after the Scottish Government framework for “phase two” suggested a slight reopening of the hospitality sector.
Speaking on the decision not to allow pubs and restaurants to open their outdoor spaces, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said: “Unfortunately I am not able to give a date for that just yet. I may be able to set a date later which is within phase two.”
She said she was seeking scientific guidance as pubs and restaurants “can be hotspots for transmission” of Covid-19.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I appreciate this will be hard for the hospitality industry. I expect to have this further scientific advice in two weeks.”
However anyone shielding can now enjoy outdoor exercise, take part in non-contact sports, and meet with others outdoors in groups of no more than eight. This change takes effect immediately.
And from Friday people from one household can meet outdoors with up to two other households. Meetings should be of no more than two groups at a time, or in a single day. There should be no more than eight people per group.
Scots can also go indoors to use the toilet at another household, however they must avoid surfaces and clean those they touch.
The First Minister said the risk of meetings indoors continues to be “too high”.
From next Monday: the next phase of the construction sector’s restart plan can begin, dentists can reopen, professional sport resume without crowds, and places of worship can reopen for individual prayer.
Shops, zoos and weddings
Additionally from Monday, June 29 indoor work places including factories, labs and warehouses can reopen.
From this date, retail premises of all sizes will be able to reopen but only if they have outdoor exits and entrances.
Zoos reopen will also be able to welcome back guest from this date.
Marriages and civil partnerships can also be held, subject to certain conditions.
Indoor shopping centres are to remain closed.
Speaking ahead of the announcement, Ms Sturgeon said “patience could reap our biggest rewards” in the fight against the virus.
She added: “Our progress so far is because of lockdown. The virus has not gone away and we must all remember that. There is a very real risk that transmission could rise again
“Growing and understandable desire to move back to normality. The impact of this crisis on businesses big and small is colossal.
“Difficult though I know all of this is, the prize for going a bit more carefully now is a recovery that is much more sustainable and one that will, I hope, allow for more normality in our everyday lives.
“Though we are moving to phase two today we still being cautious. We are not going to do everything at once.”
It is entirely dependent on eliminating Covid-19 in the country and successfully implementing a Test and Protect strategy.
Phase one of the move out of lockdown began on Thursday May 28 after Scotland successfully kept the R-number – the rate of transmission – below one.
The Scottish Government must review the lockdown measures every three weeks, and it is at this point that they will consider whether or not the nation is in a position to ease measures further by progressing to the next phase.
More to follow.
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