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Nicola Sturgeon has unveiled a ban on indoor drinking in licensed premises across the whole of Scotland for 16 days, while all pubs and restaurants across the central belt are to be closed.
The restrictions are part of new measures aimed at tackling a surge in coronavirus cases. Here we look at some key questions:
Can I get a still buy a pint in Scotland?
The two-week restrictions apply nationwide, with tougher measures for five health board areas in central Scotland that account for three-quarters of positive tests. In areas outside central Scotland, you can still buy alcohol to drink outdoors, up to the current 10pm curfew, but pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will only be able to operate indoors on a restricted daytime basis, from 6am to 6pm, for the service of food and non-alcoholic drinks.
What about the central belt?
All licensed premises – with the exception of hotels for residents – will be required to close indoors and outdoors from Friday at 6pm until Sunday 25 October, although takeaways will be permitted. Cafes that don’t have an alcohol licence will be able to stay open until 6pm “to support social isolation”. The restrictions for the central belt cover about 3.4 million people living in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley, Lothian and Ayrshire and Arran health board areas.
The limit of six people from no more than two households continues to apply to both indoor and outdoor pubs, restaurants and cafes, while the nationwide ban on visits to other homes is ongoing. People can also meet in parks, provided they adhere to the six-two rule.
Why is the central belt being targeted with stricter measures?
An evidence paper from Scotland’s interim chief medical officer, Gregor Smith, and others published just ahead of the announcement sets out the need for “urgent local measures”, stating: “A temporary set of more comprehensive restrictions across the central belt, which is responsible for 75% of positive tests for a defined period should have the impact of reducing the value of R further and also the infectious pool within the population.”
Will these measures really only last for two weeks?
Sturgeon told MSPs: “Our intention is that these additional measures will be in place for just over two weeks, incorporating three weekends,” adding, “We will keep the situation under review between now and then.”
Already, hospitality industry bodies have described the measures, even if they are temporary, as a catastrophe. Liz Cameron, chief executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, said: “These measures will sound the death knell for businesses across the hospitality sector, especially pubs and bars.” She condemned the “complete and utter lack of consultation with business”.
Source: The Guardian
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