'Deflation' after lockdown easing halted for Scottish central belt

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Disappointment: 'We accept the need for caution as the country continues to navigate its way through the pandemic but that doesn’t negate the feeling of deflation for businesses,' the Scottish Licensed Trade Association's Colin Wilkinson said. (image: Getty/mrdoomits)
Disappointment: 'We accept the need for caution as the country continues to navigate its way through the pandemic but that doesn’t negate the feeling of deflation for businesses,' the Scottish Licensed Trade Association's Colin Wilkinson said. (image: Getty/mrdoomits)

Related tags: Scotland, Glasgow, Edinburgh, lockdown, Coronavirus, Aberdeen, Nicola Sturgeon, Curfew

Many pub operators have been left disappointed by news that areas in the central belt of Scotland are to be held back from further lockdown easing.

Scotland must be cautious with easing lockdown measures as it is in a "transition phase" tackling coronavirus, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said.

Operators in Glasgow received good news with the city able to move to level two restrictions from one minute past midnight on Saturday 5 June.

This means pubs in the city can finally serve pints indoors after initially being held back from this stage last month.

However, much of the central belt will remain in level two after experiencing rising cases of the Delta virus variant, including Edinburgh, Dundee and Stirling.

Other areas including Aberdeen City and Fife will move to level one restrictions as hoped.

Optimistic about future

Under level one, groups of up to eight people from three households can meet in an indoor public place including a pub.

Hospitality venues can open indoors until 11pm in level one compared to a 10.30pm curfew at level two.

Nightclubs cannot open even in level one or zero areas and there have been no concrete dates for when these businesses could hope to reopen.

"No part of the country is going backwards today," Sturgeon said. "Before the vaccines, that would have been impossible on case numbers like this. But the vaccines are changing the game. And that means we can still be optimistic about our chances of much more normality over the summer and beyond.

Local authority areas to remain in level two include Edinburgh, Midlothian, Dundee, East Dunbartonshire, Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire, the three Ayrshires, North and South Lanarkshire, Clackmannanshire and Stirling.

Much-needed break

The Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) welcomed the news that Glasgow “at long last had been given a much-needed break” after several months of restrictions on indoor hospitality.

SLTA managing director Colin Wilkinson added: “It really is fantastic news and telling businesses now gives them more time to get organised ahead of the weekend."

Operators in the city had hoped they would be able to move into level two sooner but were left bitterly disappointed by the First Minister's update last week.

Trade bosses warned that a continued shut down of indoor hospitality was pushing people to travel out of Glasgow and risk spreading the virus further afield.

Operators in many parts of the country would be disappointed by the announcement they had to remain in level two, Wilkinson added.

He said: “We accept the need for caution as the country continues to navigate its way through the pandemic but that doesn’t negate the feeling of deflation for businesses.”

Related topics: Legislation

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