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Eating out and dining in: With curfew imposed what you can and can’t do now in Scotland

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New restrictions coming in today with a curfew imposed for bars and restaurants, will have many people questioning what it means for them. Here, we round up what you need to know.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced on Tuesday that, from today, bars and restaurants must close at 10pm in an effort to prevent a surge in the coronavirus pandemic.

This followed a Scottish Government announcement last week regarding the “Rule of Six” which has seen additional restrictions put in place in homes, with indoor gatherings between households no longer permitted anywhere in Scotland. In bars and restaurants up to six people can meet from up to two households for a drink or a meal.

Some hospitality industry bodies and bar and restaurant owners have questioned the curfew believing that it will lead to more house parties – gatherings which have already been linked to outbreaks of Covid-19.

While announcing the “strict curfew”, Ms Sturgeon warned: “Notwithstanding the economic implications, further restrictions, including possible closure, will be unavoidable – locally or nationally – if the rules within pubs and restaurants on hygiene, face coverings, table service, maximum numbers in groups, and the distance between them are not fully complied with.

“I want to thank those businesses – I believe the majority – that are making huge efforts to ensure compliance.”

As we enter into the weekend, the most popular time for going out, what is actually permitted if you make the decision to go out to eat or drink?

Bar and restaurant visits

Bars and restaurants will be closing at 10pm

Most importantly, if you are heading out this weekend, don’t leave it too late. Bars and restaurants are required to close at 10pm.

This is expected to include an orderly closure for pubs so people are not expected to be rushed to finish their drinks.

However, most bar operators are expected to stop serving earlier to ensure they can observe the 10pm closure curfew.

Eating and drinking out

When eating and drinking inside or outside in pubs, restaurants and cafes there are a number of rules that must be observed:

  • No more than six people from up to two different households should meet at a time.
  • Children under-12 from those two households are exempt from the six-people limit.
  • Book a table before you go if you can and avoid turning up on the off chance.
  • Unless exempt for health reasons, you must wear a face covering when moving around and not eating or drinking.
  • Stay at least one metre apart from anyone outside your household.
  • Stay seated – no standing, queueing at bars or dancing.
  • Supply your contact details for Test and Protect.
  • There is to be no singing or shouting to avoid the spread of Covid-19
  • Limit the number of venues you visit in one day. Many bars in towns like Brechin have already employed the “One Pub, One Day” rule in an effort to slow transmission of the disease.
  • Table service will be required in all settings.
  • Hospitality staff must wear face coverings.

Eating in / Entertaining

Remain socially distanced – even outside.

From Wednesday (September 23), people in Scotland were advised not to visit people in other households. This becomes law from today (Friday September 25).

As a result, from today, you are not be permitted to entertain anyone unless it is outdoors – and then the “Rule of Six” applies meaning you can only meet up to six people from two different households.

There are exemptions for those who have formed extended households, to support informal childcare arrangements – such as grandparents coming round to care for grandchildren – and for couples who don’t live together.

Whilst visiting outdoors when accessing the garden you are asked to do so quickly and without touching anything.

When using the toilet avoid touching surfaces as much as possible and clean your hands thoroughly.

Therefore, if you wish to catch up with your parents or friends, and don’t wish to be outdoors if the weather turns nasty, then you will need to head to a pub or restaurant.

Again, though, there can only be a maximum of six people from two households and all the restrictions in the venue must be strictly adhered to.

On your travels

There are currently no restrictions on how far you can travel in Scotland. However, the Scottish Government is advising against non-essential foreign travel.

If you enjoy food and farmers’ markets, these continue to be open at weekends, the only requirement being that they have the relevant social distancing measures in place.

As everyone has been advised since day one of the pandemic, please continue to wash your hands regularly, use hand sanitiser where provided and asked to utilise.