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Measures to tackle Omicron variant of Covid-19 come into force

By John Davidson

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Kate Forbes said she understood how difficult it had been for businesses.
Kate Forbes said she understood how difficult it had been for businesses.

The Scottish Government is reminding people that new temporary measures have now come into force to help limit the spread of Omicron.

It says the measures are necessary to limit the spread of Covid-19 while the accelerated booster vaccination programme takes effect.

Since Sunday, large events have been limited to 100 people for indoor standing events, 200 for indoor seated events and 500 for all outdoor events.

One metre physical distancing has been reinstated in all hospitality and indoor leisure settings – including pubs, restaurants, gyms, theatres and museums – from Monday. Table service is also required in settings where alcohol is served for consumption on the premises.

Nightclubs are also to close for a period of at least three weeks but have the option of remaining open if they operate with table service and physical distancing, in line with the requirements for other hospitality businesses.

All of the temporary measures are to be reviewed after three weeks on Tuesday, January 11.

The government says the restrictions are backed by £375 million in business support, with full details to be announced shortly, following discussions with business organisations and local authorities.

Hospitality businesses are already eligible for top-up funding through the December and January Business Top Up.

Further guidance has also been published to support businesses to take reasonable measures to limit the rapid spread of the Omicron variant.

Economy secretary and Highland MSP Kate Forbes said: “These temporary restrictions are targeted at reducing the spread of Omicron while the accelerated vaccination programme takes effect.

“I understand how difficult this has been for businesses in recent weeks but we must reduce our contacts and limit the spread of the virus. We’re providing £375 million in business support, which is a significant investment, to support those who have experienced cancellations and help them get back on their feet in the new year.

“The best way to support business sustainably, is to get the virus back under control. Please get your boosters and stay at home as much as possible just now.”

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