Covid in Scotland: “No Guarantee” pubs will reopen in two weeks

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Pubs in the central belt closed on Friday and are only due to reopen on October 25 at the earliest


The Scottish Hospitality Minister said there was “no guarantee” that pubs and restaurants in the central belt would reopen in two weeks.

The Scottish government ordered their closure on Friday evening as part of new Covid-19 restrictions.

Fergus Ewing said he was “keenly aware” of the “very serious negative impacts” on the hotel industry.

But he said the restrictions were “absolutely necessary” and could continue after October 25.

Mr Ewing told BBC Scotland’s Sunday Politics program: ‘If they weren’t in place, the concern is that we may have had to move on to something even stricter.

“The Prime Minister had made it clear that she was serious about avoiding another lockdown – as are, I believe, leaders in other parts of the UK.

“It absolutely is. But there can be no guarantee. “

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The new restrictions mean that licensed premises in Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian, Lanarkshire, Forth Valley and Ayrshire and Arran are closed until October 25 – although they can still serve take out.

Hospitality venues in the rest of Scotland are permitted to open, but are only permitted to serve non-alcoholic drinks and food indoors between 6am and 6pm.

Licensed establishments in these areas are still able to serve alcohol in outdoor areas, such as open-air gardens, until the 10 p.m. curfew introduced in September.

Legend

Fergus Ewing admitted the restrictions were having very serious impacts on the hospitality industry


Responding to criticism that the hospitality industry had been treated unfairly, Fergus Ewing said the Scottish government was following the best scientific advice.

He said there was “no absolute certainty” when it came to establishing how a person caught a coronavirus.

But he said illegal home parties or hospitality establishments “where alcohol is absorbed and lax inhibitions” appear to be the places where the risks are greatest.

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