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Pubs to reopen in central Scotland but only if they don't sell alcohol

Pubs and restaurants in the central belt of Scotland will be allowed to reopen from Monday but with a ban on selling alcohol and a 6pm curfew in place.

Hospitality venues in the area were forced to close earlier this month, when a circuit breaker lockdown was imposed to control the spread of the virus.

Last week it was announced that the restrictions were to be extended until November 2, when a new five-tiered system will come into force.

First Nicola Minister Sturgeon said today that the central belt, which includes Glasgow and Edinburgh, is likely to be placed under tier three.

That means pubs, bars and restaurants can reopen but must follow strict rules, including a total ban on the sale of alcohol indoor and outdoors.

Venues will be allowed to serve food and soft drinks under the new rules, but only until 6pm.

Ms Sturgeon acknowledged that the new restrictions were ‘frustrating’ but said sticking to the rules would allow for a quicker return to normality.

‘It is difficult and frustrating, and getting more so by the day, especially as we head towards Christmas,’ she said.

‘If we dig in now and get Covid under more control, we perhaps open the door not to 100% normality by Christmas, but hopefully more than we have right now. We all want to see that.’

Under restrictions currently in place, bars and licensed restaurants in five health board areas – Greater Glasgow and Clyde, Lanarkshire, Ayrshire and Arran, Lothian and Forth Valley – have been forced to close and can only operate as a takeaway service.

Pubs, bars, restaurants and cafes elsewhere in Scotland are only allowed to serve indoor customers between 6am and 6pm with a ban on alcohol inside, although alcoholic drinks can be served until 10pm in outdoor areas. 

Most parts of the country are expected to be placed in level two under the new system, which means premises will be allowed to sell alcohol indoors with a main meal until 8pm, with a 7pm last entry curfew.

At Level four, the toughest tier of restrictions, all hospitality premises will be forced to close.

At Level one alcohol will be allowed to be served indoors and outdoors with a last entry time of 9.30pm. The lowest tier of restrictions, Level Zero, will mean hospitality venues will operate under normal licensing times.

The First Minister said: ‘For all of Scotland our aim is to get to Level 1 and then to Level 0 of the framework as quickly as it is possible to do.

‘We know it is possible because over the summer we got to the very low levels of transmission that would be needed for that. If we can do that once we can do it again, but it will not be easy.’

More to follow

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