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Hospitality reopening: What to expect when visiting pubs and restaurants in Scotland from April 26

We'll soon be able to go out for a drink and a meal, but what restrictions will be in place?

Published: April 20, 2021
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On Tuesday 20 April, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon confirmed that Scotland will move from level four to level three of Covid-19 restrictions, meaning that hospitality can once again reopen.

What does this mean?

From Monday 26 April, up to six people from two households can socialise indoors in a public place - for example a cafe, bar or restaurant.

Hospitality venues can open until 8pm indoors, with no alcohol, and outdoors with alcohol (usually until 10pm but local licensing laws will apply).

Rules on gatherings have been relaxed, with six adults from up to six households able to meet up outside.

Alcohol will be able to be served indoors from 17 May.

Those not from the same household will need to sit at least one metre apart and contact details from all customers will be taken, unlike reopening last year when only one person needed to give details.

The Check In Scotland app, which launched in January, may make this easier for those heading out from 26 April.

Venues will have to display what their capacity limits are.

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As before, masks or face coverings are mandatory when entering, moving around or exiting a venue - but can be taken off while seated.

Over the weekend restaurateurs and business owners, including chef Nick Nairn, spoke out about the government guidelines for reopening.

Nick said it looked as if Scottish Government plans for a stricter interpretation of the one-metre distancing requirement in restaurants would mean a table that would normally seat six could be restricted to just two people.

He also warned the rules could lead some restaurants to decide it was not worth reopening despite being allowed to do so from April 26.

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During her announcement, Nicola Sturgeon replied to these concerns and said that the physical distancing rules had not changed from last year.

Ms Sturgeon said: "There is no change to the physical distancing requirements in our revised guidance for the reopening next week, compared to the guidance that was in place the last time pubs and restaurants and cafes were allowed to open."

Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.

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