What are the new rules in Scotland? Your questions answered as pubs and restaurants in the Central Belt close today

Frequently asked questions about the new restrictions in Scotland - and what you need to know

Friday, 9th October 2020, 1:39 pm
Scotland restrictions FAQ: your questions answered as pubs and restaurants in the central belt forced to close (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Scotland restrictions FAQ: your questions answered as pubs and restaurants in the central belt forced to close (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

The new restrictions, which come into effect today (9 October) mean all pubs and restaurants across the country’s central belt will be required to close, with the rules applying to licensed premises.

In other parts of Scotland, licensed businesses will be allowed to open, but can only serve alcohol outside.

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The new rules will come into effect from 6pm on Friday 10 October and will remain until Sunday 25 October.

The First Minister said that while the measures may feel like a “backward step” they are necessary in order to protect the “overall progress” which has been made in combating the virus.

All the current regulations and limits on meeting a maximum of 6 people from 2 households also still apply.

Which areas have new restrictions?

The five NHS Scotland health board areas with heightened restrictions are: Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley.

The additional restrictions are not being implemented along county boundaries, but by the areas covered by different NHS boards.

You can check the exact boundaries of these areas on the NHS Scotland website.

Which venues have to close?

In Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley, all licensed premises must close, though they can still offer takeaway services.

Unlicensed cafes in these areas will be able to stay open until 6pm.

In the rest of the country, hospitality venues such as pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes will only be able to serve food and non-alcoholic drinks indoors, between 6am and 6pm.

Hospitality premises outside the five health board areas will be able to serve alcohol outdoors up until the current 10pm curfew.

There are exceptions to these restrictions throughout the country for weddings which have already been booked, as well as funerals.

Life events are able to proceed as planned, with a maximum limit of 20 people within a regulated setting. They can go on up to 10pm, in line with existing guidance, and alcohol can be served. This also applies to events where advanced planning is clearly not possible i.e. funerals/wakes.

Can I travel to or from the five health board areas?

People living in the five health board areas are being advised not to travel outside of them unless absolutely necessary.

Those living outside of these areas are being advised to avoid travelling to the central belt, although no formal travel restrictions are in place as yet.

People within the five health board areas should avoid public transport unless absolutely necessary, e.g for work or school.

Nicola Sturgeon also made a point of saying that the government is “not insisting” people cancel already-booked half term breaks, however government guidance says that “where there are no planned holidays, we do ask those in the central belt not to travel out-with their area unless it is essential”.

Updated guidance from the government says that people in the central belt wanting to take day-trips during the autumn break can do so, but should remain in their area.

What about sports, exercise and other activities?

In the five health board areas, snooker and pool halls, indoor bowling alleys, casinos and bingo halls must close.

Outdoor live events will also be banned during the restrictions period.

Professional sports will be able to continue, but amateur contact sports for over 18s will be suspended, along with group indoor exercise activities.

Gyms will remain open for individual use.

What are the new restrictions on meeting people at home?

Do not meet people from any other households in your home or another person’s home socially, unless they are in your extended household.

These rules also apply to children.

Children whose parents do not live in the same household can move between homes, as can non-cohabiting couples

Very limited exemptions apply for childcare, and for tradespeople

What about hotel restaurants?

Hotel restaurants in the five health board areas will be allowed to stay open exclusively for residents.

In the rest of the country, hotel restaurants will see the same restrictions relating to serving alcohol indoors and serving times as other hospitality venues, but will be able to operate beyond 6pm for residents only.

They can continue to serve alcohol outdoors up to the existing curfew, 10pm.

How long will restrictions be in place?

In Scotland’s five health board areas with the highest number of cases, licensed premises will have to remain closed for a 16 day period until Sunday 25 October.

It has not yet been confirmed if the restrictions will be extended beyond this point.