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Hospitality in Wales and Scotland reopen with 8pm indoor curfew for Scotland

Published:  26 April, 2021

Hospitality businesses can now open in Wales and Scotland for the first time since December, with Scotland’s ‘indoors but without alcohol’ policy putting it ahead of England’s outdoor-only phase of its current roadmap.

Restrictions are beginning to ease in Scotland and Wales, bringing relief to both countries’ hospitality sectors which have been shuttered since Boxing Day in Scotland and 19 December in Wales.

From today, Scotland is moving from Level 4 to Level 3 of the Scottish Government’s five tiers of restrictions.

This means hospitality venues like cafes, pubs and restaurants can open outside and also until 8pm indoors, but without alcohol. Alcohol can only be served outdoors subject to local licensing laws.

This nudges easing of restrictions ahead of England, where customers in pubs, bars and restaurants are only able to be served outside until 17 May.

Similar easing has happened in Wales. Now that more than a fifth of people have had a full Covid vaccine, the Welsh government has announced that hospitality businesses will be able to offer outdoor service from today (26 April), allowing pubs, restaurants and cafes to reopen their doors.

Today, various parts of the hospitality industry are celebrating the ability to return to work.

On Twitter, UK Hospitality chief Kate Nicholls wished the “Very best of luck to all our members in Scotland opening for the first time today”. However, she added, “Let’s not forget that outside is still the exception rather than the norm in Scotland. Just 1 in 5 pubs, bars and restaurants have outside areas compared with 2 in 5 across the UK – and that we still have a long way to go before restrictions are fully lifted in July.”

Today’s reopening in Scotland follows last week’s announcement of First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who gave the green light for the reopening of hospitality and all non-essential retail.

Ministers say restrictions can be eased as the most vulnerable people have been offered their first vaccine dose.

The Scottish government is also launching a new app, Check In Scotland, to make it easier for businesses to collect contact tracing details.