Nightclubs are to close in Scotland for at least three weeks after Boxing Day, the government announced.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said venues will shut from December 27 in an attempt to stem the spread of Omicron, unless they are able to operate with social distancing and table service.
It follows restrictions on hospitality which bring back the requirement of one-metre social distancing between groups and a maximum capacity of 100 people at a standing indoor event.
Further restrictions to curb Omicron
Speaking to MSPs in Holyrood on Thursday morning, Mr Swinney said: “From December 27 for three weeks we intend to introduce further restrictions to reduce transmission.
“This includes table service for premises serving alcohol and one metre distancing between groups.
“I want to highlight one further change to this point.
“Having engaged with the sector we propose that nightclubs shouldn’t operate for this three week period.
“While open to them operating with distancing and table service, and that option remains, we consider closing them until they are able to operate normally again.”
The regulations will come into force at 5am on December 27.
Mr Swinney says the Scottish Government is providing an extra £375 million in support, on top of the £100m announced last week, to support businesses affected by these restrictions.
‘We can’t support everybody’
Mr Swinney did however warn that not every business which needs financial help to get through the next few weeks will receive it.
Scottish Conservative MSP Murdo Fraser asked the Covid-19 recovery secretary whether or not businesses such as accommodation providers will be able to get help.
In response, Mr Swinney said: “I think what I have to say is a really candid reflection.
“We can’t support everybody that is affected by the restrictions that are having to be put in place.
“We have made significant steps within our own resources to ensure we can put some funding in place.
“But the government has been explicit, it would help enormously if there was a targeted extension of the furlough scheme from the UK Government because of the challenges we face – but that is not forthcoming.
“I think we would be in a better position to be able to respond had we access to a broad range of options, some of which include furlough.”
However Mr Fraser says the Scottish Government needs to do more with the money they have been given from Westminster.
Mr Fraser said: “Businesses on the brink need to know now exactly what financial support they will receive, and when.
“The SNP government has been given an extra £440 million in assistance from the UK Government.
“They need to get that money out the door and into the hands of beleaguered Scottish businesses immediately.”