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Scotland's tourism sector reopens as patrons allowed to sit inside restaurants, bars

Image credit: Kirsty O'Connor/PA Wire/PA Images

Scotland's tourism sector reopens as patrons allowed to sit inside restaurants, bars

Scotland’s tourism sector can reopen from today, and cafes, restaurants and bars will be allowed to seat patrons indoors, as lockdown restrictions are further eased.

As part of phase three, from 15 July guests are permitted to stay in hotels and on campsites, and tourist attractions across Scotland will be reopened to visitors.

During Tuesday’s daily press conference, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon described the changes as the “biggest step so far in our exit from lockdown”.

However she also warned it involved “the highest risk changes so far since we started to come out of lockdown”.

“Many of them involve indoor activity and we know the risk of spreading the virus is significantly higher inside, in a pub for example, than outdoors. We also see that in other parts of the world these kinds of places are already being shut down all over again because transmission has increased.”

Customers will be asked to provide their contact details, including their name and phone number, as part of the Test and Protect scheme. Sturgeon's message to people who were not prepared to give out this information was: “Don't go to these places because you could be putting others at greater risk.”

Tourism Secretary Fergus Ewing said he was “pleased we are now in a position where Scotland’s world class hotels and tourism attractions can begin to reopen in a safe and sustainable manner”.

“We have worked closely with stakeholders including representative bodies and trade unions on guidance for safely restarting the sector to ensure employees are protected and visitors can have full confidence in planning their trips,” he said.

“Indeed, I am impressed by the strong and comprehensive action so many businesses across the country are taking as they make their preparations.

“Scotland’s tourism offer is world leading and I hope many people book staycations or even visit their local tourist attractions and restaurants as they reopen.

“We all have a responsibility to enjoy tourism safely so please familiarise yourself with the guidance available and make plans in advance, checking what facilities are open.”

Ewing urged people to make use of booking systems, where available, prior to beginning their journey, adding: “And if for any reason you cannot attend, give plenty of notice before you cancel.”

“It is also so important to be considerate of local communities and respect those living in the area you are visiting, particularly by avoiding busy areas,” he said.

“We have some of the best experiences in the world here in Scotland – let’s enjoy them safely and support the strong return of our tourism sector.”

A full list of changes today (15 July), includes:

  • Indoor hospitality in pubs and restaurants will return, subject to several conditions
  • Places of worship can re-open for congregational services, communal prayer and contemplation
  • Restrictions to be eased around who can attend funerals, marriage ceremonies and civil partnership registrations
  • All holiday accommodation permitted (following relevant guidance)
  • Museums, galleries, cinemas, monuments, libraries can reopen, with physical distancing
  • All childcare providers can open, subject to individual arrangements
  • Hairdressers and barbers can reopen with hygiene measures
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