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- Deputy First Minister of Scotland (born 1964)
The Scottish Government has ordered nightclubs to close for at least three weeks from December 27, Deputy First Minister John Swinney has said.
An amendment to coronavirus regulations published on Thursday ordered clubs to close, unless they could operate “within regulation”.
New restrictions will mean that hospitality businesses can continue to operate with social distancing and table service.
Mr Swinney made the announcement before the Covid-19 Recovery Committee at Holyrood.
“Having engaged with the sector, we now propose to require that nightclubs should not operate as such for this three-week period,” he told the committee.
“While it would be open to them to operate with distancing and table service and that option will remain, we consider that closure in regulation, combined with financial support, may reduce losses and help these businesses weather what we hope would be a short period until they are able to operate normally again.”
On Tuesday, Nicola Sturgeon announced new restrictions on events, which limits outdoor events to 500 people and indoor seated events to 200 people and 100 standing which will come into effect from Boxing Day.
While changes to hospitality will bring back the requirement for one-metre, social distancing between groups and table service, and come into effect from December 27.
The legislation introduced to close nightclubs has no end date, meaning the restrictions could be lifted earlier or later than first intended.
Scottish Tory Covid-19 recovery spokesman Murdo Fraser said: “This news is a further setback to a sector already on its knees as a result of previously-announced restrictions to tackle the spread of Omicron.
“I understand that this is a fast-moving situation but, when announcing this enforced shutdown, John Swinney should have spelt out the exact details of the support package that will be given to nightclub businesses, rather than merely promising an update on allocation ‘as soon as possible’.
“That’s not good enough – businesses on the brink need to know now exactly what financial support they will receive, and when.
“The SNP Government has been given an extra £440 million in assistance from the UK Government. They need to get that money out the door and into the hands of beleaguered Scottish businesses immediately.”