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Scotland Announces Two-Week Ban On Pubs And Bars Serving Alcohol Indoors

Scotland Announces Two-Week Ban On Pubs And Bars Serving Alcohol Indoors

Scotland has announced new restrictions to slow the spread of Covid-19, after the country recorded more than 1,000 new cases of the virus in the last 24 hours.

The new rules include a ban on bars, pubs and restaurants serving alcohol indoors after 6pm, while some regions will see hospitality effectively shut down for two weeks.

While the changes - announced by Nicola Sturgeon on Wednesday - do not signal a return to full lockdown, they have been described as "important temporary measures" after the total confirmed cases in Scotland topped 34,000.

The new rules target 'hot spots' with high levels of the virus and include:

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  • In the central belt of Scotland (Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian, Forth Valley and Ayrshire and Arran) bars and restaurants will close from Friday until the 26th, other than takeaways.
  • Elsewhere, bars and restaurants can only serve food and non-alcoholic drinks indoors until 6pm, or outdoors until 10pm.
  • In the central belt, snooker and pool halls, bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls are shut for two weeks from 10th October, and (non-professional) contact sports, indoor group exercise and outdoor live events will not take place.
  • People in the central belt should also avoid public transport "unless it is absolutely necessary", although there are not any mandatory travel restrictions. People in central belt should not travel outside their local area and others shouldn't visit there "unless they need to".

People wearing protective face masks walk past a bar in Edinburgh city centre (Credit: PA)
People wearing protective face masks walk past a bar in Edinburgh city centre (Credit: PA)

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An update on Scotland's 2020 school exams is expected from Education Secretary John Swinney, who will address MSPs later today.

Ms Sturgeon said: "I'm acutely aware that in every decision we make people's health and jobs are at risk", adding that "it is a difficult balance we must try to strike".

However, the First Minister was keen to remind the public that progress had been made since the spring, noting that the virus was at 13% of its March peak.

She said: "We are benefiting from the sacrifices made over the summer to drive the virus to low levels."

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The latest restrictions follow measures brought in last month, which saw Scots banned from visiting those in other households, strict measures in play for outdoor meetings and a 10pm curfew on pubs and eateries.

It comes as a surge in coronavirus cases sweeps across central areas of Scotland, including Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Lothian, Forth Valley and Ayrshire and Arran health board areas.

In some areas the surge in cases has been linked to outbreaks on university campuses (Credit: PA)
In some areas the surge in cases has been linked to outbreaks on university campuses (Credit: PA)

Remote areas, meanwhile, are seeing far fewer cases.

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Scotland recorded more than 1,000 cases of Covid-19 in the last 24 hours. Prior to that, the country was experiencing an average of around 730 new cases of the virus per day, up from 285 a fortnight ago.

The number of people in hospital with the virus has risen by 54 to 319.

The spike in infections in some areas is thought to be linked with outbreaks on university campuses, though transmission rates among older age brackets is rising too.

Tourism and hospitality officials have already warned that further measures could bring already struggling industries to a point of no return.

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Ms Sturgeon has already ruled out the possibility of a return to full lockdown and has said that new measures going forward will seek to place as little strain on the economy as possible.

Schools, meanwhile, will only remain closed for October half term.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: government, News, Coronavirus, Scotland

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Mary-Jane Wiltsher

Mary-Jane Wiltsher is a freelance lifestyle and culture journalist. Elsewhere she writes for Stylist, Euronews, PHOENIX and What We Seee.