Alcohol Banned Indoors In Scottish Pubs And Restaurants For Two Weeks

Rachel Wearmouth and Ned Simons
·2-min read

Pubs, restaurants and cafes in most of Scotland are being barred from selling alcohol indoors for more than two weeks, Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

The first minister announced the “urgent” move on Wednesday in a bid to control a surge in coronavirus infections.

Sturgeon said the measure would be imposed from October 9 until October 25.

Indoor hospitality venues will only be allowed to operate between 6am and 6pm.

However, all licensed premises in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley health board areas will be closed for both indoor and outdoor operations.

Cafes without a licence to sell alcohol will be allowed to open until 6pm, the Sturgeon said, to counter social isolation.

Ahead of the announcement, the Scottish government published a briefing document it had received from its chief medical officer, chief nursing officer and national clinical director.

“Any indoor setting where the public mixes freely with members of different households and people of different age groups carries a number of risks. Hospitality therefore presents one of the highest risks,” the scientists said.

But Sturgeon told the Scottish parliament the country was “not going back into lockdown” of the type seen in March.

She said schools would not be closed and people were not being asked to stay at home.

But people in the central belt of Scotland have been asked to avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary in the next two weeks.

Addressing MSPs, Sturgeon said it was important “for the morale of all of us” not to forget that progress has been made.

Cases are not rising as quickly as in March, with the current number of cases just 13% of the highest point of the pandemic and the understanding of the spread of the virus has increased.

She said: “So while there are significant restrictions still in place – and they are hard and painful – we are living much more freely now than in the spring and early summer.

“We are determined – if at all possible – that this will continue to be the case.”

Boris Johnson faced fresh pressure to consider a tighter national English lockdown in the face of figures suggesting local measures to contain the spread of coronavirus were not working.

Professor Calum Semple, a member of the government’s scientific advisory panel who specialises in disease outbreaks, recommended a “circuit breaker” be considered on a national basis in a bid to slow the virus, rather than trying to reduce it at a later stage.

At PMQs, Keir Starmer said 19 of the 20 areas subjected to local measures for two months had seen infection rates increase.

And Starmer questioned why constituencies such as Johnson’s were spared extra curbs while northern seats with similar levels of coronavirus were hit with restrictions.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.