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Tue 21st Dec 2021 - Scottish hospitality venues to return to table service and groups of no more than three households
Scottish hospitality venues to return to table service, social distancing and groups of no more than three households: Pubs, bars and restaurants will return to table service and social distancing rules from Monday (27 December), while groups meeting will be limited to three households. First minister Nicola Sturgeon today (Tuesday, 21 December) gave a covid update to Scottish MSPs, saying further steps are necessary post-Christmas to help stop the spread of Omicron. Sturgeon confirmed the new measures will come into force from Monday and last for three weeks. All hospitality venues in Scotland will have to operate on a table service-only basis if they serve alcohol and there will be a one-metre rule on physical distancing. And there can be no more than three households present in groups of people meeting in hospitality venues. From Boxing Day, and for the same three-week period, events will also be limited to 100 people (indoor standing), 200 people (indoor seating) and 500 people (outdoor events). Sturgeon said: “It (Omicron) is currently spreading rapidly across Scotland, so the steep increase in infections that was predicted last week has now started to materialise. We must act quickly – in so far as we are able given our financial constraints – and get ahead of the data if we can. So, the obligation of government is to take difficult decisions to keep the country as safe as possible, no matter how unpopular they might be.” While acknowledging the new measures would have “significant financial implications” for many Scottish hospitality operators, she confirmed that eligibility and criteria for the £100m support package made available last week for affected businesses from the Scottish government’s budget would be published later today. She also confirmed an additional £175m would be made available for business aid following recent funding announcements by the UK Treasury, and that Holyrood itself would provide a further £100m between now and April. Sturgeon, however, told MSPs that she feels the financial support from the UK government, while welcome, “still does not go far enough”. She added: “My view is that the scale and urgency of the Omicron challenge requires financial support for business on a scale similar to that at the start of the pandemic.”

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