Changes will allow hospitality premises at lower levels to sell alcohol and to remain open at second-highest level for food and non-alcoholic drinks sales
Advisory group will look at reintroducing background music in premises
THE Scottish Government has announced changes to its new COVID framework which will allow hospitality premises to remain open even at level three, albeit without the sale of alcohol.
The changes, announced ahead of a parliamentary debate on the proposed framework today (October 27) means premises would not be required to close until the highest level of restrictions (level four) is introduced in an area.
At level two – which is broadly in line with the current situation outside of the central belt – premises will be able to remain open until 8pm and will be permitted to sell alcohol indoors “with a main meal”. The sale of alcohol will be permitted in outdoor areas, with or without a meal, with those areas allowed to remain open until 10.30pm.
In level three of restrictions – which is broadly in line with the measures currently in place across the central belt – the Scottish Government is removing the controversial ‘café rule’ and allowing all premises to remain open until 6pm, but without the sale of alcohol.
First minister Nicola Sturgeon said the Scottish Government will announce on Thursday (October 29) the initial levels each local authority area will be placed in.
“I hope that over the next couple of weeks – if progress in slowing the rate of new cases continues – we will see more local authorities dropping down a level,” said Sturgeon.
“But initially, most are likely to stay in broadly the same category as now.”
However, Sturgeon said there were likely to be exceptions to this rule. She stated that Lanarkshire will likely be escalated to level four (requiring licensed premises to remain closed) and Dundee is likely to be set at level three.
Sturgeon said she hopes the Highlands, Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles and Moray may be able to be set at level one.
In addition to the framework changes, the first minister announced the establishment of “an expert advisory group on reintroducing safe low level music and background noise” in hospitality venues.