New isolation rules for Scotland welcomed by sector

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Scotland's First Minister announces new isolation rules: Change is welcomed by trade bodies across the sector (Credit: Getty/ simplehappyart)
Scotland's First Minister announces new isolation rules: Change is welcomed by trade bodies across the sector (Credit: Getty/ simplehappyart)

Related tags Scotland Coronavirus isolation Health and safety

New isolation rules for Scotland, including reducing self-isolation time from 10 to seven days, have been welcomed by trade bodies across the hospitality sector.

Scottish First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon announced as of midnight last night (5 January), those self-isolating with coronavirus can end their isolation period after seven days, providing they don’t have a fever and record two negative lateral flow tests.

Furthermore, those who come into contact with the virus will no longer be required to quarantine so long as they continue testing negative and have been vaccinated, including a booster jab.

Scottish Licensed Trade Association (SLTA) managing director Colin Wilkinson said: “This will help relieve the pressure on staffing issues in the licensed hospitality industry – we have heard from some of our members that 30% of their staff are having to self-isolate while some premises have had to shut down completely as they have insufficient staff levels.

New road map

“We now hope the current restrictions in place, including table service and one-metre physical distancing between groups of customers in premises serving alcohol, plus the limits on events which are hugely impacting the late-night industry which has been hit particularly hard since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, will be lifted on 17 January

“Meanwhile, we urge the First Minister to outline details of the new road map for dealing with covid that she referred to today as soon as possible to help businesses plan for the next few months.”

Sturgeon’s announcement came after a further 17,243 cases of the virus were confirmed in Scotland on 4 January, however, the first minister confirmed no further changes to the rules would be announced for at least another week with calls for clarity and further easing of restrictions echoed across the sector.

UKHospitality Scotland executive director Leon Thompson said: “The reduction from 10 to seven days for self-isolation will be welcomed by the Scottish hospitality businesses.

“However, with no easing of restrictions or reversal of closures until at least 17 ​January, today’s announcement leaves the future of jobs and livelihoods remain hanging in the balance.

Clarity is needed

“Christmas and Hogmanay were a write-off for many of our businesses.

“If the uncertainty around restrictions continues, Easter bookings and trade will suffer, too, as holidaymakers from Scotland and the rest of the UK decide to travel elsewhere.”

The trade bodies also echoed similar sentiments where financial aid was concerned with both Wilkinson and Thompson calling for the £66m aid package announced before Christmas to be distributed and reach businesses as quickly as possible to cover immediate costs.

Thompson added: “Above all, businesses need clarity on when restrictions will be lifted and recognition from the Scottish Government that future restrictions on hospitality are not the way out of the current phase of the pandemic.”

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