Scottish restrictions ‘worth it’ as nightclubs reopen

By Gary Lloyd contact

- Last updated on GMT

Restart the party: vaccine passports will remain in place at Scottish nightclubs (credit: Getty/agrobacter)
Restart the party: vaccine passports will remain in place at Scottish nightclubs (credit: Getty/agrobacter)

Related tags: Legislation, Social responsibility, Health and safety

Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said restrictions that have hit hospitality hard during the pandemic had been “worth it” as nightclubs and large indoor events were permitted to resume from Monday 24 January.

Sturgeon admitted hospitality has been one of the “worst-hit sectors” during the pandemic but told BBC’s Sunday Morning​ programme the country was “hopefully seeing Scotland on the downward slope” when it came to Covid infections.

She said: “[I] agree that those measures had a very adverse effect on businesses. Hospitality throughout the pandemic has been one of the worst-hit sectors but it is not a case of having protective measures and businesses are damaged or having no proactive measures and everything is fine.

“It is the difference between having protective measures that stem transmission or allowing transmission to go completely uncontrolled, in which case the impact on business is even greater and even more damaging.”

Vaccine passport scheme

Although the government’s advice to dissuade adults from meeting up with more than three households at a time, one-metre distancing and table service have now been scrapped, Scotland’s vaccine passport scheme, which includes use at nightclubs, will remain in place “as a package of measures” to protect against Covid transmission.

She said: “I don't underplay the impact of any of these measures on businesses and the night-time industry but checking Covid certification is a better alternative to being closed.”

Sturgeon also claimed the scheme was “not causing anybody any real hardship”.

Call for evidence

Meanwhile, Conservative MSP Stephen Kerr welcomed the lifting of restrictions but urged the Scottish government to deliver compensation for “the pain inflicted on the hospitality sector and night-time economy”.

“We should see the evidence when Nicola Sturgeon says it was all worthwhile,” Kerr told BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show​. “Infection rates for this variant of Covid were as great here as in any other part of the UK.

“What I can't applaud the Scottish government for doing is dithering in getting the compensation they promised these businesses.

“Some don't even know how to apply for the money. The Scottish government have a lot to answer for.”

Related topics: Legislation

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