Self-isolation time cut and curbs remain

Hospitality restrictions expected to remain in place until 17th January

THE self-isolation period for those who test positive for COVID in Scotland can be cut to seven days from midnight tonight (5th January) – providing that person has no fever and records two negative lateral flow tests (LFTs), first minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced.

Speaking this afternoon, Sturgeon also outlined changes to the self-isolation rules for close contacts of positive cases – close contacts who are fully vaccinated (two vaccines and a booster or three vaccines) will no longer be required to self-isolate providing they record a negative LFT every day for seven days.

The first minster described the changes, which bring Scotland into line with the rest of the UK, as “significant” and “not completely without risk”, but she said they “strike an appropriate balance between the continued importance of self-isolation in breaking chains of transmission and reducing the disruption self-isolation causes in the economy and other critical services”.

Sturgeon said the Scottish Government was not proposing the introduction of any additional restrictions, and confirmed that the current hospitality measures, which include table service, one-metre physical distancing between groups and restrictions on large gatherings, and the closure of nightclubs are expected to remain in place until 17th January.

She confirmed the Scottish Government would publish a revised strategic framework in the “next few weeks” outlining how it intends to manage the virus going forward.

She also announced the allocation of a further £55 million in business support from the £375m combined Scottish Government and Treasury funding; £28m has been earmarked for the taxi sector, £19m for beauticians and hair salons, £5m for sport and £3m for tourism.

It comes after the allocation of an initial £100m on 14th December, which saw £66m earmarked for hospitality businesses affected by cancellations; the ‘December and January Business Support Top Up – Hospitality’ fund is administered by local authorities to issue one-off grants to hospitality businesses of £4500 for premises with a rateable value of up to and including £51,000; or £6800 for premises with a rateable value of £51,001 or above.

And, on 29th December, the allocation of a further £107m from the overall fund, which saw £32m earmarked for hospitality and leisure businesses, an additional £10m “for those parts of the hospitality industry most severely impacted by the requirement for table service”; and up to £5m for nightclubs required to close.