Customers in Scottish pubs must cover faces when moving around

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Additional protections: pubs in Scotland are now subject to stricter regulations on the use of face coverings
Additional protections: pubs in Scotland are now subject to stricter regulations on the use of face coverings

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Scottish pubs will be subject to new regulations surrounding face coverings from today (Monday 14 September) as the country tightens coronavirus restrictions amid a rise in cases.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she hoped “by reducing the risk of transmission in those settings, it will help to keep the sector open."

It is now mandatory for customers in pubs to wear face coverings when they are not eating or drinking or seated at a table. This means when they enter the premises and sit down at a table or when they leave a table to go to the toilets.

Guidance that staff working in hospitality premises should wear face coverings will now be a legal requirement.

Avoiding shutdown

Sturgeon said: “The hospitality sector has put a lot of effort into making it safe for people to go out and meet up, and I am very grateful to them for that. 

“These additional protections are all about helping to ensure the sector can remain open because that matters for the large numbers of people that of course who work within it as well as the people who enjoy the services that it provides.”

There are exemptions to this legislation, including if staff at pubs are “physically separated, by means of, for example, partition screens, from passengers or customers or if they maintain a 2 metre distance from customers or members of the public”. 

What’s more, from today, a maximum of six people from two households can meet together in indoor or outdoor settings. This echoes changes made in England, banning groups of more than six from gathering together.

Bookings for groups of more than six at pubs and bars in Scotland should not be accepted, the Government has said.

Unlike the law in England, children under 12 from within the two households will not be counted in the new limit of six people.

Existing rules

Pubs in Scotland can seek an exemption from the tw-metre social distancing rule indoors but must warn customers they are entering a one-mtre zone and take other Covid-secure steps such as improving ventilation. 

These venues are also not allowed to play background music or television sound​ in a bid to reduce the risk of aerosol transmission of the virus. This ban has been criticised by publicans, who say they can be trusted to regulate volume levels in their sites.

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