Scotland alcohol ban: Is drinking outdoors prohibited?

Kate Ng
·2-min read
<p>Drinking alcohol in public outdoor spaces in mainland Scotland is now banned under new coronavirus regulations</p> (Getty)

Drinking alcohol in public outdoor spaces in mainland Scotland is now banned under new coronavirus regulations

(Getty)

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced a tightening of lockdown restrictions in Scotland, to further curb the spread of the new coronavirus variant.

In an update to the Scottish parliament, she announced it will be illegal to drink alcohol outdoors in mainland Scotland, and that click-and-collect services will be scaled back.

Ms Sturgeon said the situation in Scotland “remains very precarious and extremely serious” as it recorded a further 1,949 positive infections on Wednesday, pushing the total number of cases since the pandemic began to 155,372.

79 more people have died in Scotland after testing positive for coronavirus, and the death toll now stands at 5,102.

When does the ban on consuming alcohol come into force?

From Saturday 16 January, alcohol consumption in public outdoor areas will be banned in all Level 4 areas of Scotland, which applies to the whole country except some islands (Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, all islands in Highland except Skye, and Coll, Colonsay, Erraid, Gometra, Iona, Islay, Jura, Mull, Oronsay, Tiree and Ulva islands within Argyll and Bute).

Can I still buy takeaway alcohol?

Yes, buying takeaway alcohol is still allowed, but anyone who does so must consume it in their own home to further encourage people to stay at home.

However, Scots will also be barred from entering hospitality businesses for takeaway services, which means any sale of food or drink must take place outside the premises.

What does this mean for businesses?

Hospitality businesses have already been hit hard by strict lockdown restrictions all over the country, but the new ban would harm them further, business leaders have said.

Scottish Retail Consortium director, David Lonsdale, said: “The situation with the pandemic is fast moving and we fully recognise Government wants people to stay home.

"However these further revenue-crushing restrictions and the fresh complexity they bring, together with constant chopping and changing to the Covid Strategic Framework, are disconcerting and come at an incredibly difficult time for retail.

“The businesses affected - who have already lost much of their income during the crisis - are trying to make the best fist possible of the current severely curtailed trading conditions, and that just got even harder as a result of this decision which will add to their cash flow woes.”

Ms Sturgeon urged people to follow the “spirit” of the new regulations, urging them to think about “how you minimise your interactions to the bare essentials to remove as many opportunities as possible for the virus to spread”.

“In everything you do, assume that the virus is there with you - that either you have it or any person you are in contact with has it - and act in a way that prevents it passing between you,” she added.

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