Scotland's pubs and restaurants set to return as lockdown eases again

20 April 2021, 16:01 | Updated: 20 April 2021, 16:03

Scotland's pubs will be allowed to resume service from Monday
Scotland's pubs will be allowed to resume service from Monday. Picture: PA

By Will Taylor

Scotland's pubs and restaurants can reopen alongside all shops from Monday in the latest round of the easing of restrictions.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said the relaxation comes after a "sustained improvement" in the country's Covid situation.

Customers will be able to get alcoholic drinks outdoors and indoor service will also resume as the Scottish mainland moves to level three rules.

However, alcohol will not be allowed to be served inside.

Outdoor meetings between six people, from up to two households, will also be permitted, and travel to the rest of the UK will be allowed.

Read more: More than 10 million people in UK now fully vaccinated against Covid-19

Speaking on Tuesday, Ms Sturgeon said there was "continued, welcome evidence" that coronavirus cases are still falling.

Average daily case figures are down by 90% compared to early January.

Nicola Sturgeon has announced the latest easing of restrictions
Nicola Sturgeon has announced the latest easing of restrictions. Picture: PA

"All in all we have seen sustained improvement," Ms Sturgeon said, adding that all of Scotland is expected to move to level two from May 17.

That will allow people to meet in small numbers inside homes for the first time in months.

She said she intends to put Scotland in level one restrictions from June 7 and then level zero by the end of the month.

Ms Sturgeon added that by the "deeper part of the summer" she hoped "something much more like normality" would be possible.

Read more: Boris Johnson hails 'very promising' vaccine set to be made in Scotland

"We are hopeful, very hopeful, of seeing sustained progress," she said.

From April 26, up to 50 people can attend funerals and weddings, up from 20, and tourist accommodation can reopen.

Gyms and swimming pools can reopen for individual exercise and attractions such as galleries, museums and libraries can also open their doors.

People who have been shielding can return to work if unable to work from home and children who have done the same can go back to school.

Close-contact services like beauty parlours are also allowed to reopen.

Takeaway customers will be permitted to pick up their food from the outlet instead of at the door or through a serving hatch.

The First Minister admitted permitting indoor meetings inside cafes but not private homes could seem "illogical… really difficult and unfair" but said the risk of coronavirus transmitting in homes could be higher because social distancing may not be enforced, and homes could be poorly-ventilated by comparison.

However, non-essential work will be allowed inside homes, such as cleaning or painting.

Non-essential international travel remains banned.

"We want to restore normality to international travel as quickly as possible," the First Minister said.

"But we must be sensible as we do that, in light of the risks that we face and in light of the risks we see across many parts of the world."