COVID closure powers for councils

Local authorities will be able to shut venues deemed to be “breaching guidelines”


LOCAL authorities across Scotland are to be given new powers to close or impose additional conditions on venues deemed to be breaching COVID guidelines.

Speaking in the Scottish Parliament today (August 20), first minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the new powers would allow councils to “act in respect of individual, specific premises that are breaching guidelines and risking transmission of the virus”.

Sturgeon said that although there were “many pubs, restaurants and cafes who have opened responsibly”, “we also know that not all hospitality businesses have implemented the guidance effectively”.

“This power would enable local authorities either to close such premises – or to impose conditions on them remaining open – where they deem that is necessary for the purpose of preventing, protecting against, or controlling the spread of infection,” said Sturgeon.

“We believe this is an important – indeed a vital – but also a proportionate step, which will help local authorities ensure businesses stick to the guidelines and that action can be taken where these guidelines are being breached.”

The first minister also announced additional enforcement powers for Police Scotland which would allow officers to “break up and disperse large indoor gatherings” such as house parties.

In addition to the enforcement measures an indicative date of September 14 was announced for the reopening of live music venues, with those venues able to open for preparation and rehearsal from August 24.