New restrictions to be introduced in Scotland, including return of physical distancing

Today (21st December) in a statement to the Scottish Parliament, the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, announced that, due to the ongoing spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, the Scottish Government will be introducing additional mandatory restrictions which will impact on certain sectors, including some visitor attractions.

The first new restriction will be introduced on Sunday 26 December, whereby, for a period of three weeks, limits will be placed on the size of live public events that can take place.

For indoor standing events the limit will be 100; for indoor seated events it will be 200; and for outdoor events 500 seated or standing.

On top of this, 1 metre physical distancing will be required at events that go ahead within these limits.

The second new restriction, which will be introduced on Monday 27 December for a period of up to three weeks, will see the re-introduction of 1 metre physical distancing within indoor hospitality & leisure venues, including indoor visitor attractions. It should be noted that 1 metre distancing will not be required within groups of people attending together, only between different groups (we would remind members that the current government advice on groups is that there should be no more than three households represented in any group).

The First Minister also advised that a requirement for table service will be introduced in hospitality settings from 27th December, but only for venues serving alcohol for consumption on the premises.

We are acutely aware that the compulsory re-introduction of any kind of physical distancing, even for just a short period of time, will have ramifications for a considerable number of members. Our CEO, Gordon Morrison, attended a hastily convened meeting of the Scottish Tourism Emergency Response Group (STERG) this afternoon, where the new restrictions were discussed, and he made the point that visitor attractions, not just hospitality venues, are very much being hit hard again by the impacts of the measures being taken to curb the spread of Omicron and it is vital that the Scottish Government provide the necessary support to our sector.

To read the First Minister’s statement, please click here.