Scottish Government unveils framework for COVID restriction levels

Five levels will be debated in Scottish Parliament on Tuesday

Further support grants announced to coincide with new system

The Hospitality section of the framework document.

THE Scottish Government has today (October 23) published the ‘strategic framework’ spelling out the five levels of COVID restrictions it plans to introduce from November 2.

The framework, which will be voted on in the Scottish Parliament on Tuesday, is available to view here.

If approved by the parliament, the system will allow the Scottish Government to set each of Scotland’s local authority areas to one of the five levels. The status of each area will be reviewed every week.

Level Zero is effectively the position Scotland was in during August, with the majority of hospitality businesses open, albeit with hygiene and social distancing measures in place.

This is also the case in Level One.

However, in Level Two there will be restrictions on the sale of alcohol indoors – with alcohol only allowed to be sold indoors along with a meal. Alcohol will still be allowed to be sold in outdoor areas.

Level Three will ban the sale of alcohol in both indoor and outdoor areas, although premises will be able to remain open for the sale of food and non-alcoholic drinks.

Level Four will require licensed premises to close altogether.

The Scottish Government has said that it will work “in partnership with the hospitality industry to build on the proactive approach we have seen taken across the majority of hospitality”.

Within the framework document it is stated: “We recognise the significant effort and investment that has been made by operators to adapt their businesses and we want to thank everyone for that.

“We also recognise that the hospitality sector has been heavily impacted by coronavirus and the measures that have been necessary to combat it, but we want to see safe and viable businesses that the public can enjoy, while observing all required mitigating behaviours.

“That will continue to require vigilance and high levels of compliance at all times, from operators and the public particularly where hospitality operates at a lower level of physical distancing than other premises or spaces. We will continue to develop our ongoing engagement with industry and compliance partners to ensure this is maintained, and to explore, develop and share best practice so that the sector can stay open, protecting jobs and local services.”

Speaking at her daily media briefing, the first minister stated that Environmental Health Officers may be given additional enforcement powers to ensure compliance with the new system.

The new system will be accompanied by additional financial support for businesses.

Those businesses required to close will be able to claim a cash grant of either £2000 or £3000 every four weeks, depending on whether their rateable value is under £51,000 or above it.

Businesses “that remain open but are specifically required to modify their operations by protective measures” will be able to claim a hardship grant of either £1400 or 2100 every four weeks, depending on rateable value.

The hardship grants will be available regardless of level.