Delay to lockdown easing signalled for Scotland

By Emily Hawkins

- Last updated on GMT

Scottish lockdown: the First Minister has said it is likely there will be a three week delay to lockdown easing (image: Asvolas / Getty)
Scottish lockdown: the First Minister has said it is likely there will be a three week delay to lockdown easing (image: Asvolas / Getty)

Related tags Scotland Scottish Legislation Health and safety coronavirus Glasgow

First minister Nicola Sturgeon has suggested the lifting of coronavirus restrictions in Scotland may be pushed back by three weeks.

It had been hoped the whole country would move to the lowest level of its framework, level zero, from 28 June.

Sturgeon said a delay would allow more people to be vaccinated ahead of an official decision next week amid rising cases of the Delta variant.

She added it was "reasonable to indicate now that I think it unlikely that any part of the country will move down a level" as had been hoped.

Unpredictable virus

The first minister said that the virus was too "unpredictable" to be able to commit to "firm dates" for lifting remaining rules and therefore refused to "give false guarantees".

It comes after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a four week delay to plans to remove all legal limits on social contact in England from 21 June to 19 July.

Table service and face covering rules will continue in level zero but there will be no enforced curfew for pubs unlike other levels.

Curfews have also hit pubs hard amid the Euros with venues reporting safety fears for staff, who may be asked to kick out customers during the middle of matches.

What’s more, there was fury in Glasgow after a 6,000 capacity fan zone was permitted in the city for the football tournament. 

Up to ten people from up to four separate households will be able to meet indoors at a hospitality venue under level zero.

Several of the Scottish islands have already been moved to level zero including Orkney, Shetland and the Western Isles.

Uncertainty for nightclubs

Many hospitality businesses in level two areas across the central belt of the country have been forced to remain closed, according to trade body UK Hospitality Scotland.

Nightclubs will not be able to reopen at level zero leading to trade bodies and bosses to call for more details about the future beyond restrictions.

Executive director of UKHospitality Scotland Leon Thompson said: “Level zero is not the end and there will still be significant restrictions on hospitality.

"Without details of what happens after level zero and the physical distancing review, businesses cannot begin to plan for the future.

“Ultimately hospitality needs the removal of all restrictions as quickly as possible. In the absence of this the Scottish Government must urgently consider what financial support it will provide to support hospitality businesses.”

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