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Highland pubs and restaurants told not to serve alcohol indoors


By John Davidson

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First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the measures on Wednesday.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the measures on Wednesday.

Pubs and restaurants across the Highlands will not be allowed to serve alcohol indoors as part of new measures announced by the First Minister today.

Nicola Sturgeon said the new restrictions would apply nationwide, with additional limits on licensed premises in the central belt.

Pubs, bars, licensed cafes and restaurants in the health board areas of Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lothian, Ayrshire and Arran, Forth Valley and Lanarkshire have been told to close for more than two weeks from 6pm on Friday until Sunday, October 25.

In the Highlands, hospitality premises will be allowed to continue operating indoors between 6am and 6pm serving food and non-alcoholic drinks, as well as being able to serve outdoors until 10pm, including alcohol.

The rule covering the maximum number of six people from two households in indoor settings will still apply.

Ms Sturgeon said she was also offering a £40 million package of support to affected businesses.

People have also been advised not to travel to the worst affected health board areas unless for essential reasons.

New regulations on the wearing of face coverings in public places will be strengthened along with more action to strengthen compliance with the current regulations.

Supermarkets and shops will remain open but are encouraged to reintroduce two-metre physical distancing and one-way systems that were in place earlier in the pandemic.

Ms Sturgeon underlined that the new measures intended to balance health concerns as well as economic concerns but warned that peak infection rates from the spring could return without action.

“I am acutely aware that in every decision we take lives and jobs are at stake and I want to assure not just the chamber but the country that none of these decisions are taken lightly," she said.

“When I updated parliament over two weeks ago the average number of new cases being reported each was 185, that was up from 102 three weeks previously. Now we are reporting an average of 788 new cases each day.

“In the seven days up to Monday the number of people in hospital with Covid increased by almost 80 per cent and the number of people who died with Covid was the highest for 14 weeks. In fact there was the same number of deaths in the last week alone as in the whole of the previous month.

“The increase in the numbers of people in hospital and sadly dying from Covid sadly reflect the rise we are now seeing in new cases in older age groups.

“We estimate that the current level of new Covid cases is growing by seven per cent each day, so without action we are likely to return to the peak level of infection that we saw by the end of this month.”

The news comes as 1054 new cases were confirmed across Scotland today – 13 per cent of people who were tested – with 19 new cases in the NHS Highland area.

Nationally, there has also been one further death reported in the last 24 hours.



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