Covid Scotland: What new restrictions come into force today?

NEW coronavirus measures have come into force in Scotland today which are intended on tackling the spread of the Omicron variant.

Last week, Nicola Sturgeon confirmed the new rules and restrictions when addressing the Scottish Parliament and outlined when and how they would come into play.

From 5am on Boxing Day, restrictions on large-scale events were put in place which limit the number of people allowed to attend certain venues.

However, other restrictions such as the return of social distancing and table service in venues only came into force this morning.

It meant that there was no social distancing in force in any venue in Scotland on Boxing Day, and bar service in pubs was still allowed.

READ MORE: Celtic fans dispersed by police during first day of new football fan restrictions

What new measures are being introduced?

From 5am on December 26:

Attendance at large events has been limited to:

  • 100 people for indoor standing events
  • 200 people for indoor seated events
  • 500 people for all outdoor events (seated or standing)

From 5am on December 27:

One metre physical distancing will be re-introduced in all hospitality and indoor leisure settings. This includes pubs, restaurants, gyms, theatres and museums amongst others.

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 from this date, however will have the option of remaining open if they operate with table service and physical distancing.

Finance Secretary 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.”

The funding proposed by the Scottish Government will be covered using repurposed health spending sent north by the UK Government, as well as taking money from commitments already made, the Finance Secretary said in a letter to a Holyrood committee.

Further spending could be taken from next year’s budget, resulting in a fiscal shortfall if the UK Government does not pledge the gap.

When will Scotland’s restrictions lift?

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

When will vaccine centres reopen?

Vaccination centres were closed on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, Prof Leitch said. They will re-open from December 27 as the rollout for the the booster continues.

Test centres will be open throughout the festive period – between 10am and 2pm on Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year’s Day and 8am and 6pm on other days – while contact tracing will also continue.

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