Bars and restaurants to trade under levels restrictions over Christmas

People who have formed a ‘bubble’ should remain in their own household group and not mix with others in hospitality venues, guidance states

BARS and restaurants across Scotland will be required to trade under levels restrictions in place in their council area at the time over the festive period – and customers who have formed a Christmas ‘bubble’ should remain in their own household group when visiting hospitality venues, the Scottish Government has said.

New guidance published today (Thursday November 26) states that people can form a ‘bubble’ of up to three households, one of which can be an ‘extended household’, between December 23 and 27.

The guidance says“Bubbles can only gather in a private home (to meet or stay the night), outdoors or at a place of worship.

“In all other settings, such as hospitality, leisure or entertainment venues (indoors and outdoors), those who have formed a bubble should remain within their own household and not mix with others.

“Those who have formed a bubble should only socialise in a hospitality, leisure or entertainment venue in your own household (or extended household) for the duration of the festive period.

“Socialising and opening hours for pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes are as per the local authority protection levels that the venue is situated in.”

There are also limits on staying in “tourist accommodation”.

The guidance states that “those who are part of a bubble should not stay in tourist accommodation”.

Those living in level three or four areas should also not leave those areas in order to stay in tourist accommodation elsewhere.

Broader travel restrictions are to be eased, however. Between December 23 and 27 people will be able to travel between local authority areas in Scotland and are free to travel to other parts of the UK. If they travel in order to form a ‘bubble’, they are expected to abide by the local authority rules in that area.

The guidance states: “In a level three or four area in Scotland, for example, once you have arrived and formed your bubble you must avoid non-essential travel outside the local authority area in which you are staying. And in an area of Scotland at level zero, one, or two you must avoid unnecessary travel into any level three or four area.”

Coronavirus restrictions levels are reviewed each Tuesday to take effect the following Friday. Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday (November 24) that there will be no changes to the levels in place in Scotland’s local authority areas from this Friday (November 27), apart from East Lothian which was moved from level three to two on Tuesday.

Currently much of west central Scotland is under the toughest level four restrictions. 11 council areas – Glasgow City, Renfrewshire, East Renfrewshire, East Dunbartonshire, West Dunbartonshire, North Lanarkshire, South Lanarkshire, East Ayrshire, South Ayrshire, Stirling, and West Lothian – are in level four until December 11.

Ten council areas – City of Edinburgh, Clackmannanshire, Falkirk, Inverclyde, North Ayrshire, Dundee, Fife, Perth & Kinross, Angus and Midlothian – are under level three restrictions. East Lothian, Aberdeen City, Aberdeenshire, Borders, Dumfries & Galloway, and Argyll & Bute are currently in level two. And Orkney, Shetland, Western Isles, Moray and Highland in level one.