New pub rules Scotland: these are the laws enforced for restaurants and bars - including no music and collecting contact details

The rules came into place on Friday 14 August.

Published 17th Aug 2020
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

As lockdown restrictions continue to ease in Scotland, stricter rules have now come into place to keep staff and customers safe at restaurants and bars.

Here’s what you need to know.

What are the new rules in bars and restaurants?

Bars and restaurants in Scotland are now required by law to collect contact details of customers. The rules came into place on Friday 14 August.

Contact details may be kept by businesses for 21 days, but after this they must be destroyed or deleted.

The hospitality sector had already been urged to take customers’ information as part of the Test and Trace system.

Providing table service, pre-booking and avoiding customers standing together or queuing is also now compulsory.

No background music should be played, and TVs should also be muted in order to allow people to hear each other and avoid having to lean in to hear.

Why are the rules being enforced?

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announced the measures last week, explaining that the recent outbreak in Aberdeen (which saw the city placed under a local lockdown) had illustrated how coronavirus could spread easily in settings such as pubs.

Ms Sturgeon said, "To say that the incident in Aberdeen is deeply regrettable is an understatement. But it underlines an extremely important point: any time one of us fails to abide by the rules, we put others at risk and give this virus the chance to come roaring back.”

The First Minister added that, although many businesses had complied with the guidance, others had not, hence the decision to make the rules tighter. Businesses, including pubs and restaurants, were given seven days to prepare for the implementation of these stricter rules, but were encouraged to act sooner.

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"We need to do everything we can to stop it in its tracks and that is why we are expanding the mandatory use of face coverings in more indoor public spaces, and will be implementing further regulations for the hospitality sector,” adds Ms Sturgeon.

"Many of these measures should already be in place as part of the guidance, but in order to keep the sector open - safely - we are now placing them in law."

Face masks must now be worn in shops, takeaway restaurants, estate agents, and beauty parlours, unless individuals are exempt. However, this does not extend to hospitality premises, such as sit-in cafes and restaurants.

Who will enforce the new rules?

The Scottish government has said that both police and local environmental health teams would enforce the stricter rules, if necessary. The rules are expected to remain in place for the foreseeable future.

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