First minister Nicola Sturgeon has confirmed that lockdown restrictions affecting hospitality businesses in Scotland will be relaxed as soon as next month, in an announcement made yesterday (16 March).
From 26 April, cafes, restaurants and bars will be permitted to serve people outside in groups of up to six from three different households until 10pm.
Sturgeon reiterated her hopes that indoor hospitality will be allowed to reopen at the same time, albeit in a reduced capacity, with establishmeents limited to serving food and non-alcoholic drinks and a 8pm curfew.
Furthermore, hoteliers and self-catering hospitality businesses will be allowed to reopen from 26 April, while up to 50 people can attend weddings, funerals and reception events.
Scotland’s stay-at-home order will be lifted on 2 April, with travel restrictions removed entirely from 26 April.
In reaction to the announcement, Willie Macleod, UKHospitality Scotland’s executive director, said: “There is a lot to unpack from the first minister’s announcement and, as ever, we are going to need to see the detail. We had put forward a reopening proposition to the Scottish Government which would have given us more flexibility, but at least we do now have a plan.
“A nationwide lifting of controls, rather than the previous local system, will be simpler and give businesses the clarity they need. After such a devastating year for hospitality, it is encouraging to see light at the end of the tunnel and dates that we can begin to work towards.”
He added: “There is, however, going to be significant disappointment from businesses that hospitality will be so tightly restricted in the first weeks of the reopening. We had proposed that alcohol be served indoors with a meal, so for that not to be allowed is a major disappointment.
“Restricting outdoor spaces to just six people from three households will likewise be a significant barrier to viability. The curfews, 10pm for outdoors and 8pm for indoors, will also seriously restrict businesses’ ability to break even. These businesses are, in many cases, only just clinging on.”